Learning Perseverance

I have shared three lessons I learned going through dark times in my life (you can check them out here, here, and here), but we aren’t even close to exhausting all of the lessons that can be learned in the night. I want to teach you one principle that will allow for lifelong learning and application of these nighttime lessons. 

The apostle Paul shared how he had matured during his times of struggle. He told the Corinthians he realized that God had delivered him in the past, was delivering him now, and would continue to deliver him in the future (see 2 Corinthians 1:3-11). The key is to hang in long enough to actually see how God brings about the deliverance and teaches the lessons. 

Paul told the Corinthians, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can ENDURE it (1 Corinthians 10:13). And the writer of Hebrews said, “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 what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). 

The Greek word translated “persevere” means keeping focused on the goal despite the struggles that it takes to get there. Jesus used this same Greek word at the conclusion of His parable of the sower: “The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the Word, retain it, and by PERSEVERING produce a crop”; a crop that Jesus said was a hundred times more than what was sown (see Luke 8:5-15). 

I love riding my bike on the White Pine Trail by my house. My long rides have a really fun stretch where I am flying downhill! But as fun as that part is, I’m not really building anything of lasting value. However, when I am coming back uphill and I want to quit because my legs are burning and I can hardly breathe, that becomes a valuable struggle. I cannot build endurance by any other way than to push myself just a little bit farther each time. When I want to quit, I pedal just a few more feet. Gradually, the uphill becomes less daunting. 

A friend gave me a t-shirt I like to wear on my rides. When I put it on the blue-lettered message on the shirt says, “Do It!” but as I struggle uphill and the sweat begins to pour off my body, a new message emerges: “Don’t Quit! 

I have learned that easy roads teach very few valuable lessons. 

So here are three thoughts to help you persevere in your struggling times: 

  1. Keep your eyes on Jesus and on His eternal rewards (Hebrews 12:1-3; James 1:2-4, 12) 
  2. Keep persevering friends close by—notice the “let us” phrases the writer of Hebrews uses 
  3. On your worst day, don’t quit but commit to going one day longer (Romans 5:3-4) 

[check out all of the verses by clicking here]

Remember that as you struggle and persevere, you are not only building your own endurance, but you are strengthening yourself to be able to help others. So we can be thankful IN the night because God is building our endurance for the next night, and our endurance for our friend’s next night. 

If you have missed any of the other lessons in this series called Thankful In The Night, you can access the full list by clicking here. 

6 Responses to “Learning Perseverance”

  1. Craig T. Owens Says:

    If you would like a copy of the Edgar Guest poem I shared in this message, you can find it by clicking here.

    Like

  2. Don’t Quit | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] Easy roads teach us very few valuable lessons. In my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter, I talk about how the Holy Spirit uses our challenging times to develop the leadership qualities that are necessary for us to grow.  […]

    Like

  3. Craig T. Owens Says:

    “When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected) he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along—illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation—he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent of his bad old days; but why now? Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.” —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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  4. Craig T. Owens Says:

    The Hill, though high, I covet to ascend, 

    The Difficulty will not me offend; 

    For I perceive the Way to life lies here. 

    Come, pluck up Heart, let’s neither faint nor fear;
    Better, though difficult, the Right Way to go,
    Than wrong, though easy, where the End is Woe. —John Bunyan’s Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress

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  5. Thursdays With Spurgeon—Save Me! | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] God is teaching me something in this desperate time that I could have learned in no other […]

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  6. Battling Depression | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] We learn something in suffering that we can’t learn any other way. Jesus learned how to experience all of the grief, anxiety, and depression that you and I will ever feel. And that is what qualifies Him to be a perfect High Priest for us. […]

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