Perseverance in walking daily with Christ is one thing, but to endure with purpose in the Lord until He returns is quite another. Typically, perseverance and endurance are interchangeable, but for today I wish to highlight some subtle distinctions. While perseverance speaks of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:25), endurance speaks of faithful loyalty to Christ as Lord through this earthly life into eternal life.
There comes a breaking point in most of our lives, when we feel unable to cope with the pressures of life. It’s as Solomon explained; “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14). We can often muster the strength to rise above physical problems, but when life crushes our inner spirit, we find ourselves vulnerable to defeat.
Persevering through these stressful times often accumulates sizable pain, which, if not dealt to, will gnaw away at your faith. Therefore, spiritual maintenance should be central to every believer’s thinking.
Personalise biblical priorities
Living in the comfort of a modern Christian lifestyle, can easily mislead you to assume life should be constantly smooth. By way of contrast, the apostle Paul explained His lifestyle to the Corinthian Church who had become obsessed with seeking pleasure. “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labour, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things” (1 Corinthians 4:11-13).
The apostles were selfless, hardworking slaves of Christ for the body of Christ while living under constant harassment. Their expectations did not include comfort or ease; nor were they focused on financial reward. They did not evaluate the quality of life by their hardships. Rather, they relentlessly presented the truth of Jesus Christ to a disinterested world because their priorities had been supernaturally gripped. Their Spirit energised passion enabled them to “endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12). Self simply did not dominate within their priorities.
Assimilate biblical character
Secondly, the long-term goal of perseverance is faithful endurance, which is why Paul instructed Timothy to “keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14). In context, Paul taught Timothy to ensure he was involved in biblical discipleship relationships. As you disciple others to follow Christ, there should be deliberate replication of Christ-like character from one believer to another. Paul repeatedly emphasized this to Timothy; “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13-14).
Paul and Timothy set a fantastic example. Theirs was a mutually submissive relationship. Paul gave his all to service, leading, and instructing Timothy in truth and Christlikeness. Timothy gave his all to receiving, to surrendered personal change, and maturing in Christ to become the leader God designed him to be under Paul’s tutorage.
Together they longed for Christ’s return. They prioritised the truth of Scripture with the power of the gospel. For them, faith and love were indivisible and essential through Christ. They acknowledged the indispensable work of the Holy Spirit. They recognised and worked to protect the purity of Scripture. In so doing, they persevered with the purpose of endurance.