During the last 2 major readings of our F260 plan, which covered Hebrews and Revelation, I was impressed by the emphasis on staying. As Hebrews 10:23 says: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. As we start the new year, the word is PERSEVERE.
The verb persevere means: to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.
Yes, our spiritual journey is accompanied by times of great joy, transcendent peace, and sweet victory. But other times are marked by challenges that are difficult to navigate. Loss, disappointment, rejection, and persecution can derail our faith.
Jesus understood this. That’s why he told the churches in Revelation – to those who overcome, I will give a (victor’s) crown. The writer to the Hebrews constantly urged the believers not to give up.
When things are going well, perseverance is a non-issue. Our relationship with God and others is almost effortless. But when trouble comes, the need to “stay under the pain” kicks in.
Here’s how the writer describes it: (Hebrews 10:35-39)
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
As we enter 2020 none of us knows what tomorrow holds. Solomon wrote in Eccl 9:11 …the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.
The word “chance” in this passage doesn’t mean luck. It means trouble. Life’s journey is not about how fast we progress, or how strong we are, how rich or how intelligent. It’s not about how much we know…it’s how we navigate through the tough places.
My friends, 2020 is here – don’t shrink back, don’t give in, and don’t give up.
Persevere in the New Year.