Irrespective of how long you have been a believer, there will be a call to perseverance in your life sooner or later. Peter tells us “do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12) Jesus warned that “’ in this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’”
All believers are called to perseverance, as described by Paul in Philippians 1:6, “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Also, in the declarations of Jesus’ that “all that the Father gives me will come to me,” and “I shall lose none of them that he has given me.” ( John 6:37; 39).
Here are five strategies to take when you are in a season of perseverance:
- Draw close to God
1 Chronicles 16:11. “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” If we must persevere in anything, it should be in turning our attention to God. He is the only one we can count on and is present with us through anything.
During times of perseverance, make it a personal strategy to spend even more time in the Lord’s presence and to draw your strength from Him and not people or things. His presence means that we can call on Him at any time and that our lives will bring about fruit as we continue to stand in faith.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” ( Prov 3:5-6)
- Hold on to Hope
Jeremiah was tasked with preaching God’s word to his people. He persevered by continually preaching and teaching God’s word, despite all that was done to him. Jeremiah faced threats, prison and much more to share his faith and God’s word. This does not mean that his perseverance was easy, in Lamentations 3:19-20 he says: “ I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.”
“Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.’
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him…”
We have to learn to overcome obstacles, difficulties trials and tribulations to experience victory in Christ. All perseverance calls to a decision to be made in the heart – 1) trust God and keep your vision on Him or 2) quit and abandon hope. Our hope is a gift from the Lord, and our enemy would like nothing better than we abandon our hope and give in to despair and fear.
Rom 5:3-5 echoes this sentiment on hope: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
- Be patient in prayer
Times of perseverance call us to step up our prayer life. We can have confidence (Heb 4:16) and boldness to come to the Lord with all our requests, needs, petitions.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Rom 12:12)
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph6:18)
Jesus tells us the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8, who goes before a Judge, who doesn’t fear God or man. She pleads with the Judge to right a wrong done to her, by her adversary. She continually pleaded with him to do so. After a while, the Judge caved, and even though he didn’t fear God or man, he avenged her. She essentially wore him down.
The parable goes on to highlight how God will avenge his children even more swiftly than an earthly judge. When we continually cry out to God, he hears us. It shows us to be persistently pleading with God, talking to Him, praying and persevering in faith. He hears our prayers and listens to His children.
- Keep up doing the good you were doing
Very often, when we are going through hardship and trial, we withdraw from the work we are doing, the service we are giving. While you are persevering, it is not the time to stop doing good. Doing good is a characteristic of a believer, and we should continue in this discipline of blessing others with our lives, while we are persevering. Sowing seeds of trust in the Lord, hoping for our own harvest.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9)
(2 Thes 3:13) “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”
- Do not give in to fear
When we face difficult times and pressure, it is natural to be tempted to give in to fear. Our enemy would find strength in putting you in that position and will launch a full-scale attack on your thoughts and feelings. The strategy to embrace is not to give in to fear, but instead, take hold of the promise and purpose of perseverance – the prize.
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” (Rev 2:10)
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all…” (Psalm 34:19)
It is important to remember that during perseverance in a trial, we may “be hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4:8-9) It is God that brings us into the season of perseverance, and it is God that will help us stand firm.
“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor 1:21-22)
Thank you, Lord that You do not abandon us during times of trials, difficulty or hardship, but as we draw close to You, You draw near to us. Help me not to give in to despair, but follow these strategies during seasons of perseverance in my life. As I find my strength in You, you will bring me to a rock that is higher than where I am. I trust in You, keep my eyes on you and live my life under your guidance and strength.