If you're like me, you watch the cascade of nightly news items and wonder where this is all headed. To be honest, it really is downright discouraging.
Chuck Norris' son, Mike, is releasing a movie called Amerigeddon—that says it all! Yet in the midst of this, we must remain people of faith and optimism.
Seven words from Jesus can sustain us during these challenging times: "Let both grow together until the harvest" (Matt. 13:30). In other words, prior to the return of Jesus, there is going to be a ripening of both good and evil in our world. While we work while it's still day to be a bulwark against the flood tide of wickedness, we must make a quality decision each day to not sink in our spirit.
A popular book on the market is titled The Secret of Success Is Not a Secret. What is the mysterious secret?
The remarkable book traces the stories of multitudes of individuals who faced incredible setbacks and yet by persevering emerged victorious. If you need fresh inspiration, get yourself a copy.
In times as challenging as today, Paul wrote to encourage the early Christian community with these words, "May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance" (2 Thess. 3:5). How apropos for our generation.
If ever there was a time for people of faith to understand the power of perseverance, it is right now! We are entering a phase of history where challenging tests are increasing as God's exciting plans for His people are unfolding.
Here's the deal: Understanding perseverance and knowing how it is developed is a non-negotiable for walking triumphantly in these perilous times.
The Importance of Perseverance
Perseverance or endurance means remaining steadfast, constant, unwavering and actively standing strong. It means realizing my personal struggles are necessary for future achievements.
• "Therefore, since we are encompassed with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
• "Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matt. 24:12-13).
• "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?" (Jer. 12:5).
Let's face it—pressure reveals the person! Perseverance undergirds till breakthrough.
Recently my wife and I hosted a man whose wife just died after a lengthy battle with cancer. I officiated at her memorial service days ago. They were a team and an extraordinary faith-filled couple. Yet the reality is, Vicky went to be with the Lord, though that was not what they ever imagined.
My wife and I grappled to console our dear brother that his wife was not only exemplary, but similar to John the Baptist, her earthly assignment was apparently done. Her death, like John's, is a mystery and seems premature, but we must persevere, not despair.
Sometimes we face horrendous circumstances when it appears things have come to an end. The natural tendency is to throw in the towel and quit. Maybe that's why the word "endurance" begins with the word "end." Yet God gives us his Holy Spirit whose role is to encourage us to press on in spite of perplexing circumstances.
Do you recall in the Rocky III movie, when he stood discouraged and devastated on the seashore after losing the heavyweight title to Clubber Lane? In a very emotional scene, he told his wife he had basically lost "the eye of the tiger" and was giving up.
In a role reminiscent of the role of the Holy Spirit, Rocky's wife, Adrian, exhorted him passionately to stop yielding to destructive thinking, rise up and reclaim the prize.
Sylvester Stallone came to his senses and eventually reclaiming his championship title. He put into practice the discipline of discarding negative thinking and replacing it with truth. So must we on a daily basis.
John Rohr, a "mentor to the masters" in the leadership world, has a classic statement that we would do well to post on our mirror: "Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day."
Read that again and ponder its significance.
As pressures heat up today, we must practice the simple disciplines that are at the core of our Christian life. They are essential for us to persevere in an ominous period of history.
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