Persevering – Don’t Give Up

“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.” James 1:2 (NIV)

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV)

Not so long ago, I had a conversation which was very discouraging. This individual did not understand my motives. He couldn't comprehend what I was trying to tell him. I wanted him to understand I do what I do because I enjoy  the fellowship I received from those that share in my journey and walk with me. For me, it really is all about fellowship with other Christians, building friendships and sharing God's love to encourage and build one another up.

As Christians, our main concern should be performing for an audience of One.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galations 1:10 (NIV)

In the New Testament, Jesus tells the disciples to go out among the people and share the Good News. However he also tells them that if they go to a particular town and are rejected, shake the dust off and walk away. Don't give up, but walk away from these people. Others will listen. Others will understand. Keep going. Don't let a few negative people bring your joy, your hope and your world down. Persevere.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.” Luke 9:1-6 (NIV)

The disciples faced many obstacles along the way, and so will you and I as we travel the journey God puts before us, but God is faithful.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

God will help you persevere through all you do.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:1-5

“Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

It's easy to just give up. If no one else cares, why should you? But don't get disheartened. Remember who you are working for and all he persevered through for you.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

When others don't listen and they don't understand, but you know in your heart that you are doing what God has called to do, persevere. He will see you through.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (NIV)

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