perseverance
 
Introduction:

James 1:2-4,12 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

The word perseverance comes from the Greek word HUPOMONE. In Classical Greek it is described as the ability of a plant to thrive in a harsh environment - literally in the deserts and rocky slopes. In later Greek and Jewish literature, it was used to refer to the íspiritual staying powerí which enabled the faithful to die for their God. The Oxford meaning is "to continue steadfastly".

But in today's fasting moving / speed era this word seems impossible. Everyday activities which used to take days or weeks, in today' time we expect it to happen now instantly. In fact, itís difficult to identify any area of our daily life that hasnít been accelerated. Think about it. Microwaves Ė instant food, ATM machines. E-mail. fast food, instant coffee and SMS, we expect instant replies even in our Journey with the Lord.

When we donít get instant replies we get disappointed, we get frustrated and we quit. Weíve got used to having all our desires instantly gratified, and as a result we have become impatient, we have grown intolerant with regards to any kind of delay. We expect to get what we want and when we want it. Seldom do we think the delay could be for our own growth.

The Biblical virtue of perseverance is so rare today, because perseverance runs directly counter to this mindset. Perseverance takes a long-term perspective. It focuses on the future, rather than the immediate present. Perseverance is being patient. It keeps waiting, and believing and trusting, even when things take longer than expected. It keeps working, and seeking and striving, even when things turn out to be more difficult than anticipated. It remains faithful, even when there are ample opportunities to throw in the towel, to give up and move on. Perseverance means sticking with something for as long as God calls you to do so, no matter how long it takes, no matter how difficult or painful it becomes, no matter how many discouragements and disappointments and obstacles you encounter along the way.

Why is perseverance so important? Because it takes time to discover the true nature of things. And as the old proverb states, "truth is the daughter of time." For example, it takes time to know if a project or an enterprise is going to be successful. Appearances can be deceiving. In fact, as we search the Scriptures, and study the history of Godís dealings with His people, we see that He has often been pleased to bring success and victory out of apparent failure and defeat. He likes to demonstrate his power and might by turning around seemingly hopeless situations. And so if we give up too soon, we may miss on the blessing. The supreme example of this is the crucifixion of Christ. By all appearances, his mission had failed miserably. What could be more hopeless than a dead savior, a lifeless leader? But three days later came the resurrection. And that changed everything.

The importance of perseverance

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