Last week we began the topic on the need of biblical perseverance in the believer’s life. We discussed our fast-food-minded culture and the conflict that it has with God’s enduring, patient (slow!) timing for working out His plan and often in answering prayer. We left with the central question: Why does the bible focus so often on the need of perseverance?
To read Part 1 of this blog series, click here: http://wp.me/p1OTLw-hm
The Purpose of Perseverance
Remember that this concept of perseverance is not based on “The gospel according to Peter (I mean me, not the Apostle)”. I’m sharing what I learn experientially through my own pursuit of Jesus. But I also take care not to write on a subject until I believe I understand something of the heart of God on it. There is a LOT at stake when you step out to teach people spiritual principles, and I don’t want to be the person responsible for bad teaching.
I’m confident that I’m on safe ground with this topic. For me, that’s about as bold a statement as I can make.
Perseverance does a few things in and for the believer, and they are developed in process and frequently in tandem.
Perseverance deepens Godly character
Perseverance and endurance are kissing cousins to each other. They both have one prevailing theme – Surviving something over a long haul. There is NOTHING pleasant about having to defer dreams, hopes, longings for indefinite periods of time. There is nothing fun about waiting, long long long days after endless days to see God answer a prayer. But it’s necessary. It forces us to question more deeply what we say that we believe about God. What happens when God DOESN’T behave the way we expect Him to? How you respond to this question might advance or delay your spiritual growth considerably.
Perseverance weeds out selfish desires and requests
Anything that requires us to petition God for week after week, month after month, year after year… that has to be something pretty important to us. Flippant requests will necessarily not be worthwhile enough for us to persevere through in prayer. There’s a certain amount of proving that happens when God doesn’t immediately answer prayer in visible ways.
Invariably we’re left with the question of “Is this thing/person that I’m pleading for/over WORTH IT?” Our motives necessarily get purified under this sort of intense scrutiny. Most of us (me especially) are pretty lazy. It’d better be DARN worthwhile for me to invest myself significantly in the pursuit of something.
Perseverance unlocks the storehouses of Heaven
I refuse to commoditize God’s gifts. There is no bartering with heavenly favor. We don’t behave a certain way, say certain prayers certain ways, dance, hop, sing, cut ourselves, froth at the mouth…we don’t do ANYTHING to barter for God’s goodness and favor and gifts. We don’t DO and EXPECT. But that said, there is a principle here of supernatural, divine intervention and provision. God WILL honor the perseverant heart. He and He alone understands the sacrifice of importunate (persistant) prayer. He alone understands the pain of waiting, the agony of the uncertainty. He knows our struggle into believing faith. He sees the cost to our spiritual selves as the flesh dies, giving birth to spiritual confidence in His goodness even while our souls agonize over those dreams, desires, promises that He Himself birthed in us. And because He is absolutely fair, and absolutely just, He IS a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. It is part of the faithful character of our great God that He honors His word, His promises while also honoring those who pursue Him with dedicated passion and purpose.