BLOCKS OF CHARACTER: PERSEVERANCE!"
preached by David P. Nolte
2 PETER 1:5-11
From Wesley's journal: "Sunday, A.M., May 5: Preached in St. Anne's.
Was asked not to come
back anymore. Sunday, P.M., May 5: Preached in St. John's. Deacons said
'Get out and stay out.' Sunday, A.M., May 12: Preached in St. Jude's.
Can't go back there, either. Sunday, A.M., May 19: Preached in St.
Somebody Else's. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn't
P.M., May 19: Preached on street. Kicked off street. Sunday, A.M., May
26: Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose
during service. Sunday, A.M., June 2: Preached out
at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway. Sunday, P.M., June 2:
Afternoon, preached in a
pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me." That's perseverance.
To diligence, faith, moral
excellence, knowledge and self-control, we need to add perseverance.
Perseverance refers to "the
characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate
purpose." It implies endurance,
steadfastness, patience and persistence. It is "stick-to-it-iveness,"
"hang-in-there-ness" and "never-say-die-ness."
- THE DEFINITION
- There are four main ways in which the word is understood:
- Endurance. The ability to put up with aggravation. Jesus
endured. We are
to endure. "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses
surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin
easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for
the joy set
before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at
right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12:2 (NASB).
- Patience. The ability to wait for something to happen. Most
of us want what
we want when we want it! But James says,"Dear brothers and sisters, you
must be patient as you wait for the Lord's return. Consider the farmers
eagerly look for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They
patiently wait for
the precious harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. And take
for the coming of the Lord is near." James 5:7-8 (NLT).
- Persistence. Hanging in there, doing what we need to be
doing. In the
parable of the soils, Jesus said, "The seed on good soil stands for
a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by
produce a crop." Luke
- Remaining steadfast to the end without falling away. Like
Paul, who said at
the end of his life, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the
I have remained faithful." 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT).
- Perseverance is running the race to the finish; it's doing the
job to completion; it's
waiting to receive that for which we hope. Perseverance looks forward
in hope, stands
firm in trial, refuses to give up. Perseverance is not quitting when
quitting is easiest.
- To illustrate: Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl; The one
was wise, and a cheery
soul. The other one took a gloomy view And bade his friend a sad adieu.
other frog with a merry grin, "I can't get out, but I won't give in;
I'll swim around till
my strength is spent, Then I will die the more content." And as he
swam, though ever
it seemed, His struggling began to churn the cream Until on top of pure
stopped, And out of the bowl he quickly hopped. The moral, you ask? Oh,
found! If you can't get out, keep swimming around. Our Daily Bread.
- THE DEMAND OF
- Perseverance doesn't just happen. You don't wake up
like you do morning
breath. You don't inherit it. You have to put some effort into it.
- There is a three-fold demand if we would persevere. The demand
- Decision. Jesus said, "take up your cross daily and
Like the song says, "I have decided to follow Jesus .. No turning back,
- Determination. We must determine that we will persevere. Paul
decision, saying, "No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I
but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the
looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the
receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up
- Dependency. Paul said, "I can do everything with the help of
gives me the strength I need." Philippians
- The Christian Endeavor Pledge contains all these
says, "Trusting the
Lord Jesus Christ for strength, I promise Him that I will strive to do
would like to have me do. That I will make it the rule of my life to
pray and to read
the Bible every day, and that I will support the work and worship of my
in every way possible. And that just so far as I know how, throughout
my whole life,
I will endeavor to lead a Christian life." Decision, Determination,
is the demand of perseverance.
- Perseverance is demonstrable. Others can see it when
observe us in trials and
tasks. We demonstrate perseverance when we stick to the job, when we
suffer afflictions, losses, pains, sorrows and grief.
- Consider some who demonstrated perseverance:
- Job, of whom we read, "As you know, we consider
persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the
Lord finally brought about." James 5:11 (NIV).
- Nehemiah, who when opposed by God's enemies, said, "Should
my position run away from danger? Should someone in my position enter
Temple to save his life? No, I won't do it!" Nehemiah 6:11
- Paul, who persevered under horribly adverse situations. "Five
the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with
rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a
night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled many weary miles. I have
danger from flooded rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from
own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger
cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. And I have faced danger
men who claim to be Christians but are not. I have lived with weariness
pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and
without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing
keep me warm." 2
Corinthians 11:24-27 (NLT).
- Let me show you a demonstration of perseverance. A
woman wanted her
husband to know Christ but he steadfastly refused. Besides living the
life before him,
she prayed for his salvation. It took 52 years, but she kept living and
praying and the
man turned to Christ a few years before he died. That's persistence in
- THE DIRECTION
- Perseverance moves us toward a goal; it always takes
moves us toward:
- Persistence takes us toward consistency. If we just
doing something, we
become consistent at it. Practice makes perfect. That's true in
music, in art and in every other discipline of life. Paul urges
godliness. "Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is
more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the
Timothy 4:8 (NLT).
- Perseverance takes us toward strength. This works in
body-building or in any
sort of exercise. No pain, no gain. James said, "Consider it pure joy,
brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that
testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3 (NIV).
- Perseverance moves us toward trust. Hebrews 10:35, 36
tells us "So do not
throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to
persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive
he has promised." (NIV).
- Perseverance is a walk, a growth process, a moving
faithfulness and Christlikeness.
- Eamon Coughlan, the Irish world record holder at 1500 meters,
need for the forward motion of perseverance. On March 6, 1987, he was
a qualifying heat at the World Indoor Track Championships in
Indianapolis. With two
and a half laps left, he was tripped. He fell, but he got up and with
managed to catch the leaders. With only 20 yards left in the race, he
was in third
place - good enough to qualify for the finals. He looked over his
shoulder to the
inside, and, seeing no one, he let up. But another runner, charging
hard on the
outside, passed Coughlan a yard before the finish, thus eliminating him
from the finals. Coughlan's great comeback effort was rendered
worthless by taking his eyes off the
finish line. It's tempting to let up when the sights around us look
favorable. But we
finish well in the Christian race only when we fix our eyes on the
goal: Jesus Christ
and eternal life. The direction of perseverance is forward, onward, to
How we begin is not the whole story. It's how we finish that
We have all seen great "come-backs" in sports events. A team can be
down by as much as 20 points and rally to win. That's
perseverance. The race is not to the swift, but to the enduring. Christ
interested in your perseverance than you are. He works in the Christian
to provide strength and will
to endure to the end. Perseverance is crucial. A runner does not win
unless he crosses the finish line
first. A boxer does not win unless he can answer the bell and fight
another round. A man does not
succeed if he quits the job before completing it. We are called to
persevere. Have you even started
with Christ? Have you started, but grown slack? Have you grown slack
and given up? This is a day
of new beginning. Decide today to follow Jesus - to follow and to never
Frogs from NavPress
praying, Knight; Coughlan, Daily Bread
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