There are several passages in the Bible that talk about the importance of perseverance and how, by perseverance, we can be blessed.
We know that the Bible tells us that we need to persevere, but what does the Bible mean by persevere and what exactly do we need to persevere in?
This blog post is all about the importance of perseverance in the Bible, and what that should look like in our day-to-day life.
The Oxford Dictionary defines persevere as meaning to ‘continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little prospect of success.’
Today we read and hear many quotes and slogans about perseverance – about not giving up! If you have a dream, you should pursue it. If you have the right mindset and work hard enough, you can achieve anything.
But is this the kind of perseverance that the Bible is concerned about?
Dreams can come from God, but everything we pursue is not necessarily a dream given to us by God.
If we’re honest, not every dream should even be pursued, and pursuing them at all costs is not wise.
I used to love watching a TV series called Shark Tank. On this show, people would present their business ideas or inventions before a panel of millionaires, who might decide to invest in their business or product. It was often quite entertaining, but sometimes there would be someone with an idea that, to put it plainly, was just a bad idea. Often that person had poured their life and their entire lifesavings into that dream, only to be told that it was no good. My heart broke for them. They stood there, on live television, devastated.
The Bible’s Definition of Perseverance
The Bible’s definition of perseverance is quite different. Rather than pursuing something with little prospect of success, we are guaranteed success! Though we will definitely face difficulty, which is why perseverance is necessary, we are promised success!
Philippians 4:13 says,
‘I can do all things through him who gives me strength.’NLT
What God calls us to do, and the dreams he gives to us, he intends for us to accomplish, with his help!
So, we are not facing impossible situations, goals, or dreams when we are called to persevere as Christians. We are guaranteed success!
What Does Perseverance Look Like in Our Day-to-Day Life?
What goals or tasks is God calling us to accomplish? And how can we know if something is coming from God?
Well, first, the Bible is primarily concerned about everyday life – not extreme situations or dreams we might have – such as: perseverance in our Christian walk, in sharing the gospel, in being godly parents and spouses, in our work life , etc.
But God does give us dreams. For example, I believe that starting this blog was a dream given to me by God.
So how can we know if our dreams come from God?
How to Know if Your Dream Came from God?
Two important facts we need to remember is this:
- God made us in his image. God finds pleasure in creating – he called his creation good and took pleasure in it. We were also made to be creative and create.
- God made us to have free will. He did this out of love. He wants us to have the freedom to choose, and that includes our passions and interests.
Next, I like to ask myself three questions:
- What is motivating me to pursue this idea or dream? Am I truly passionate about it? Do I get excited when I think about it?
- Is there any aspect of this dream that is contradicted in the Bible? Is there anything that could be in conflict with the Bible’s teachings?
- Could pursuing this idea or dream interfere with other responsibilities I already have?
And finally, there are three steps I like to take before pursuing a dream.
- Read the Bible and pray. I allow God to speak to me through his word. I believe that God gives us peace of mind, allowing us to know when we should move forward or not. Now this doesn’t mean we will always have peace! When we pursue our God-given dreams, the enemy attacks and things can get harder. But if we stay grounded in the word, we won’t lose our peace of mind!
- Ask other mature Christians to join us in prayer. Sometimes God gives us confirmation through other believers.
- Research, learn, and gain a better understanding of the idea or dream you want to pursue, before you jump in, even after you believe you have received confirmation from God. God wants us to pursue wisdom, to have patience, and to do things in the right way.
Colossian 3:23 says,
‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.’NIV
This verse is referring to doing things for God’s glory, and not for man’s, however the same principle still applies here. Doing our best for God requires putting in the right amount of effort, thought, and consideration.
Perseverance in Our Christian Walk
Our everyday life does not always involve following big ideas and dreams. In fact, much or our life is often described by some as ‘mundane’ – the ordinary stuff.
But believe it or not, it’s the ordinary stuff that matters most! The mundane takes up greater than 90%of most people’s lives, and it is in this big chunk of our lives that God wants us to persevere.
Matthew 22:37 says,
‘Love the Lord your God with all our heart and all your soul and with all your mind.’NIV
This command from the Bible means that, as Christians, we need to prioritize God more than anything or anyone.
Perseverance in this aspect of our lives means, taking time to read the Bible and pray even when we don’t feel like. Disciplining ourselves to read the Bible and thoughtfully pray is hard! I have struggled with this, as most – if not all Christians – do at some point in their Christian walk.
In my study on suffering, I learned that one of the reasons God allows problems and trials to enter our lives is so that we will learn to rely on him more.
Romans 5:3 says,
‘…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance’NIV
God is often trying to bring us to place of humility, and sometimes brokenness, so that we can learn to fully rely on him. When we live our lives in complete reliance on him, that is when we experience victory!
Reading the Bible and coming to God in prayer regularly is how we walk with God and rely on him. God speaks to us through his word by causing us to recall the truths of the Bible just when we need it most.
Does this mean that we need to consistently read the Bible every single day, and pray for a certain amount of time every day? No! There is no one prescribed way that we should read the Bible and pray. God doesn’t want us to be slaves to the law or the legalistic tendencies people tend to transpose onto Christianity (Romans 7).
Your walk with God is your walk with God. It is between you and God alone. As we learn to put God first and develop a heart of humility, we will want to read the Bible more and more, as we seek to know him more and more.
Perseverance in our walk with God also requires perseverance in obedience. Repenting of our sin and accepting God’s grace and salvation means that we are choosing a new way of living – a life of obedience to the Bible.
Although no one will do this perfectly, God wants us to pursue holiness. Perseverance in obedience requires full reliance on God, through the Holy Spirit, to guide, convict, and instruct us in truth (John 16:7-13).
Perseverance in Marriages
Perseverance in marriage, and marriage itself, seems like a thing of the past. Perseverance in marriage by today’s standards means ‘keep at it’ as long as you or your partner still love each other. And love is defined as how a married couple feel about each other.
Going into marriage, many couples base their decision on a feeling. But over time, when problems and trials come – again, why perseverance is even necessary – feelings change, and couples no longer feel love for each other, or compatibility.
But the Bible’s definition of perseverance requires that we have an attitude of ‘keep going’. Rather than a feeling, love is a commitment and a decision to love, regardless of how you feel about the other person.
Perseverance in marriage requires living out 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 everyday,
‘Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.’NLT
None of us will do this perfectly. It requires repentance when we fail and forgiveness when the other person fails.
Not all marriages are made up of two Christian partners. Sometimes one is not a believer, or is weaker in his or her faith, or is even backslidden. But if you, as the Christian partner, commit your marriage to the Lord, and live out your marriage according to the Bible with a godly kind of love, God will bless and honor your marriage.
It is possible to have a happy marriage despite difficult circumstances.
Perseverance in Families
The Bible is full of instructions for parents and children. Here are a few of them:
Proverbs 22:6 says,
‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.’ESV
Colossians 3:20-21 says,
‘Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers (and mothers) do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.’ESV
Psalms 127:3 says,
‘Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.’NLT
In the busyness of life, work, and other responsibilities, we sometimes forget that our obligation as parents involve more than making sure our children are fed, go to school, and attend extra-curricular activities. We are responsible to train and teach our children.
Children are gifts from God, but parenting can often feel more like a chore from God.
Family dynamics can sometimes make taking time to read the Bible and pray together, difficult. Children and teens who are not used to doing these kinds of activities may resist doing them.
But the fruits of persevering to prioritize God in your family life will be tremendous! This often first requires the parents to change their own mindset about parenting and their children’s needs.
Perseverance in Our Jobs
As mentioned before, Colossians 3:23 tells us to do everything as if we are working for the Lord. This means that whether we are working at our dream job, or just any job to pay the bills, we need to perform that job to the best of our abilities, as unto the Lord.
I know of some people, who won’t take a job – even when offered work – unless they feel it is at their pay grade, educational level, or something they are passionate about. Yet they struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table.
There are many verses that speak against being slothful, or being lazy, and it is clear that God is not pleased with laziness and wants us to work hard at everything we do.
Whether we like our boss and co-workers or not, we are called to work hard and do our best. God may open doors to other jobs that bring us more satisfaction, and that is something that we can bring to God in prayer. But in the meantime – persevere for God by working as though he himself is your boss.
Persevering in the workplace, also means to be a light for Christ at our jobs. Do your boss and co-workers know you are a Christian? Are you a business owner and have you incorporated God and the Bible in how you do business?
Perseverance in work also requires take time to rest. God intended for us to rest, demonstrating this practice when he created the world. Though success sometimes seems to require working 24/7, God wants us to take time to rest, spend quality time with loved ones, and spend quality time with him.
Perseverance Touches Every Aspect of Our Lives
When Paul (in Romans 5) and Peter (in Hebrews 12) talk about perseverance, they aren’t just referring to some aspects of our lives, but not others. The Christian life is one in which God inhabits every aspect, and perseverance in every aspect requires making every aspect of our lives godly.
Otherwise, we might say that we are part-time Christians: involving God in the more clearly “spiritual” things, but forgetting about him in the rest, in the mundane (+90% of our lives).
When will Our Perseverance Achieve Results?
Hebrews 12:1-2 says,
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.’NLT
2 Timothy 4:7 says,
‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ESV
The Bible speaks of the Christian life as being a life of perseverance – one that continues until Jesus returns. Peter and Paul are both telling us in these passages, that we need to always persevere until we reach that finish line.
Will Perseverance Always be So Difficult?
I believe that as we grow and mature spiritually, it becomes easier and easier to resist sin and do the right thing. As we pursue a life of holiness, the Holy Spirit will grow fruit in our lives that will enable us to be more Christ-like and grow closer to God.
The enemy may still attack, and trials and problems may still come, but we will be better equipped to resist and to experience God’s joy and peace no matter the circumstances we face.
What is the importance of perseverance in the Bible?
Jesus is both our Savior and Lord. As Lord, he is to be the Ruler and King over every aspect of our life, not just the “spiritual” aspects.
Perseverance, as talked about in the Bible, involves aligning every part of our lives in obedience to God’s word.
This is how God calls us to live, and it is through a life of perseverance that, when we finish the race, God will say, “We’ll done my good and faithful servant!”
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene H. Peterson – as the going gets tough and the world around us is more often unjust and unmerciful than not, God has given us the resources to see us through tough times. This book will encourage you to continue in the path Christ has set before you.