|photo courtesy of step3711 via pixabay.com|
“Don’t quit, keep trying,” the Lord spoke into my heart – to my total surprise. After all, I figured He would either toss a bunch of writing down from heaven to answer my prayer or tell me to throw in the towel, call it a day, and go do something relaxing and fun. But not so. Not at all.
Somehow I’ve gotten it into my mind through the years that when I say a prayer God should do all the work and I should merely reap the rewards of the answered prayer and all of His hard work – and toss in a thank you if I remember, of course. Or, I should go on my merry way when my prayer doesn’t get answered as quickly as I think it should and not consider that maybe I have my own part to play.
Not so long ago, a loved one burst my bubble when he said, “God does His part, and you need to do yours.” Uh oh. Uh oh is right.
One of what in my opinion is one of the least preached about principles in the Bible is not the “patience” word I have heard preached through the years. It’s the “perseverance” word that somehow gets so easily and quickly overlooked. It should come as no surprise, however. Don’t we live in a society that is fast-food, high-speed, as-quickly-as-possible with just about everything? Not so when it comes to God, huh? God wants us not only to be patient; God wants us to persevere.
In other words, He wants us to endure. To last. To stay the course. To not quit. To refuse to give up. To keep following Jesus no matter the cost to our flesh – no matter how hard, no matter how much it hurts, no matter what comes against us, no matter how long it takes. He wants us to keep on keeping on, so to speak. He wants us to keep on following. He wants us to do His will and to not stop until we’re done doing what He wants us to do. And He wants us to trust that He will do His part – in His time, mind you. Wow, huh? It takes a whole lot of patience to persevere, doesn’t it?
When it comes to my writing, I would love nothing more than to just wave a magic wand, spout off a quick prayer, and wait for God to open up the windows of heaven as books upon books come pouring down from His throne that I can simply send off to the printer for publication. Talk about foolish, eh?
Okay, I’ll admit it. I can be an all or nothing person. Either I write a book NOW, or not at all. I publish a book today, or forget about it for the rest of my life. If it doesn’t happen today, it never will. If I don’t produce a piece of writing I feel good about, of course I never will. So quit, right? No. That’s what I’ve done so often before. I quit because I lacked patience, and I quit because I lacked perseverance. I didn’t have the patience to persevere.
I am quite certain God is trying my faith right now, teaching me to be patient as I learn to persevere in doing His will.
Is there any area of your life right now in which you feel God is calling you to persevere when your flesh is screaming that it’s time for you to quit? Instead of throwing in the towel, throw up the flag of surrender. Surrender to God’s will, take a deep breath, say a big prayer, and keep pushing forward with patience and perseverance.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5 NASB
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 2 Peter 1:2-11 NASB