James 1:12 – “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Luke 21:19 – “Stand firm, and you will win life.”

Perseverance – steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Perseverance is an accurate description of my effort in writing this post. I’ve made several attempts over the past couple of days and the verses and the words just didn’t come. Can you relate? Have you had a project for school that you just couldn’t pull together?

There’s a sign in front of a church on Valleydale Road currently that says, “Life comes at you fast.” Wow! Does it ever! You are growing up in a time when technology has put the motion of life in hyperdrive. I know each of you have incredibly busy and demanding schedules every week. Our ability to persevere and gut through these challenges is important to how we achieve and advance in life. Without sounding too much like a parent, your ability to persevere in giving your best to school work will have a direct impact on the number of doors of opportunity down the road. What’s hard for all of us, in this “life comes at you fast” world, is that perseverance requires patience. Patience is not something wired in our DNA. We have to learn it. Often the struggle to persevere involves developing patience when things are not working out at the speed we would like. Being patient is one of the Fruits of the Spirit that doesn’t necessarily involve being patient with others, but with ourselves, and even with God...

So what about your faith? Obviously, God wants us to persevere in our walk with Him. But we have free will. We have the will to choose whether or not we will continue the journey with Him. We all face obstacles in maintaining our walk with the Lord and that will continue. Spiritual perseverance is connected to our faith and to God’s grace. When we stumble, when we fall short, God extends grace to us to forgive and allow us to move on. The problem is when some people hit a bump, they think they can’t recover from what they’ve done, they can’t be forgiven, and they fall away from God and quit their walk with Him. God extends grace, we have to choose to receive it and to persevere, by faith, through the consequences of our actions. Perseverance means we simply don’t quit. Here’s a verse I want us to explore:

Revelation 12:11 – “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimonies; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

This verse speaks to me about perseverance. We are going to overcome this world and the deceptions of Satan by the blood of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ. We are also going to overcome and persevere on this journey with God through the word of our own testimonies. When I finally realized that I was not alone in my struggles in my walk with the Lord, it was transformational! I know it sounds strange, but I thought I was the only one who was struggling to overcome my sin. You’re going to fall short, but your perseverance to continue in your faith and allow God to restore you is YOUR TESTIMONY! God will use your testimony to help someone else recover from their struggle. It’s a beautiful thing. God gives us grace to reconcile ourselves with Him, God uses our testimonies to heal each other through our struggles, and we all persevere as God transforms us from the brokenness of who we were to the beauty of who he has designed us to be. This song describes that desire to have God transform us…

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