Click on the following link for Part 2: 15. Never, Never, Never Give Up (Wise Words, Winston) Pt. 2
‘Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’ Romans 5:3-5
Perseverance leads to a deeper relationship with God
As we persist in persevering, we go through a refining process in which we deepen our relationship with God.
‘In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls’. 1 Peter 1:6-9
As discussed in the last blog post, when we come to Him with gratitude and communicate this in all circumstances, we cultivate a gracious and thankful heart. When we seek out His voice during the trials – through reading the Bible, through prayer, through praise and thanksgiving – we continue to build our relationship and dependence on Him.
We see that He is the only source of the Truth, He is the greatest source of help, comfort, hope, guidance, and support. He holds the answers. When we recognise this, when we rewire our focus to be fully tuned in on Him, when we seek to hear His voice and follow his leading – no matter what that looks like or how illogical it seems, when we place our trust in Him, our relationship with Christ deepens.
When we place our trust in Him. When we put our trust in Him.
Notice the words ‘place’ and ‘put’. It is a conscious effort to do so. We have to literally decide that we are going to trust in God. Implicitly. Despite not being able to see Him physically, we believe. He has the answers. He has the solutions. He has the outcomes.
In exercising this, in persevering, the scales fall from our eyes and we start to see God at work. We start to recognise His hand in our lives. It is humbling. Our lives are not our own. We start to see and believe in the living power of Jesus. We start to see that He actively participates in our lives. He pours out His blessings in abundance. His hand guides us through the storms and protects us. We start to depend on His strength, not on our weak human failings. We see that He is our shepherd, our loving Guide, in every situation.
The key is a change of mindset.
Not my strength, but His. Not my will, but His be done.
‘So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.’ Zechariah 4:6
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
Surrender to Him, give Him praise and thanksgiving in all circumstances, place your trust in Him, acknowledge His goodness, communicate always with Him through prayer and worship, read His words in the Bible, open your eyes and your heart to His still, quiet voice, follow His nudges and leading each step of the way, continue to persevere in this mindset and lifestyle of active (not passive), ACTIVE trust.
And He will draw you in close, He will lead you, He will protect you, He will reward your diligent pursuit of Him during those times where demonstrating faith is the hardest thing to do.
‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Galatians 6:9
‘Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.’ Proverbs 3:3-4
Persevering is simply being confident in trusting Him to see you through. It is putting aside bitterness, resentment, an ungrateful heart, worry, and idleness. It is striving forward in the image of Christ. It is cultivating a character of integrity and godly virtues. It is covering yourself in His armour daily, keeping His commands, praising and worshiping Him – all, despite the trials of life.
Perseverance is the testing of our character.
‘See I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.’ Isaiah 48:10
‘The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away’. Matthew 13:20-21
When we persevere His way, we demonstrate real, active faith. Not faith that crumbles or falters when life does not go our way. Faith that stands firm through the trials.
That is a testament of true godly character. That is striving to be Christ-like. That is true perseverance. Let’s use tough seasons to further deepen and strengthen our relationship with God, rather than to blow about like corn in the wind and eventually fall away.
Wait and see. Watch goodness come from those seasons of perseverance. God will reward you for your unwavering faith.