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What is Perseverance?

What do you do when you face trials and troubles? Do you boldly claim God's promise to help you? Or do you worry that the trial is too large?

Sir Winston Churchill once gave a speech for the graduation ceremonies at Oxford University. He began by saying, "Never give up!" He looked at the silent crowd, and again shouted, "Never give up!" Then he picked up his hat and cane and left the platform. His entire speech consisted of only those six words. What a testimony from a man who came to the brink of defeat in World War II.

We can find the same command in God's word, "Never give up!" Let's find out you why God says, "Never give up!"

James 1:2-4 says, "2-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."

Verse 3 says that when we have trials, it is our faith that is being tested. Your faith is the target that all the arrows are shot at. When your faith is tested, it is proven to be true and pure. This testing of our faith produces patience. Through that patience, we become mature and complete, lacking nothing.

It is your faith which is tried. It is this faith that Satan and the world hates. If you had no faith they would not be your enemies. Faith is against all evil, and all evil is against faith. Faith is that blessed grace which is most pleasing to God, and most displeasing to the devil. By faith God is greatly glorified, and by faith Satan is greatly annoyed. He rages at faith because he sees in it his own defeat and the victory of grace. Our purpose is to glorify God, and the testing of our faith glorifies God. We should count it all joy when we fall into trials of many kinds.

It is by our faith that we live.

Romans 1:17 says, "the just shall live by faith."

Faith is the fighting principle and the conquering principle.

Consider the patience of Job when his faith was attacked. His trials were real, and his patience was real. He suddenly lost his cattle, his sheep, his camels, his servants, and even his children. Yet, Job didn't sin. He persevered, and God blessed him for it.

The blessing we gain through perseverance is that our faith is tried and proven. When we are able to bear it, the trial proves our sincerity. It proves the truthfulness of our doctrinal belief. Your own faith in God is proved when you can cling to Him under temptation. The divinity of your faith is proven. How can you depend upon a faith that has never been tried? If you cast your burden upon the Lord, and he sustains you, then you are sure of your faith, and it is stronger for the next attack.

We learn the great strength of the Lord through our own weakness. We find out under trial where we are weak, and just then in answer to prayer strength is given to answer our need. In the very hour when it is needed, the grace is given. Doesn't this assure you that your faith is real?

Perseverance through our trials produces patience. The man who truly possesses patience is the man that has been tried. What kind of patience does he get by the grace of God? First, he obtains a patience that accepts the trial as from God without a murmur. All things come from God.

Calm resignation does not come all at once. Often it takes years to bring us into full submission to God's Will. Have you had years of physical pain, or sorrow, or depression, or disappointment in business? After much discipline, the son is made obedient to his Father's will. We slowly learn to end our quarrel with God. We yield to His will and forget our own. If you troubles lead you to that end, you are blessed indeed, you should consider them all joy.

Patience enables a person to suffer abuse, slander, and injury, without responding in sin. He is not easily provoked, and he refuses to return slander for slander. Like Jesus before Pilate, in Matthew 27, He doesn't reply. If your trials work patience in you that never grows angry and never ceases to love, you may lose a little comfort, but you build godly character.

Patience keeps us from acting too quickly. We take time to prepare. We work steadily, determined to serve our Master. God is in no hurry because He is strong and wise.

Proverbs 20:18 says, "Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance."

Proverbs 21:5 says, "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."

Jesus was never confused, excited, worried, or hurried. He knew when his hour had not yet come. He went steadily on until he finished the work his Father had given him to do. We must wait upon the Lord, and say, "My time is not yet come." Perhaps God wants me to have my worst things first, and my best things last.

When we persevere and learn patience, we become mature and complete. Troubles help us find our weak points, so we can strengthen them. I'm not perfect, are you? Through trials, we discover our failures. We pray to God, and He helps us do better.

Consider the fruit on a tree. A certain amount of sunlight is needed to bring out the real flavor of fruits. When the fruit has absorbed that amount of sunlight, it is ripe and delicious. So is it in man. A certain amount of trouble is needed to create the grace we need, so that we can ripen and mature, and be made complete.

Usually, our best examples of mature believers are older men and women.

Proverbs 16:31 says, "Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life."

They are content, calm, and quiet, because they have learned through their trials. Trials produce a disciplined spirit. Once we've been tried, we can help others through similar trials. It is difficult to comfort the sorrowful if we have never felt sorrow ourselves. We must respect our older brothers and sisters, and learn from them.

Tried men are more cautious, gentle, and humble. They no longer believe they are right about everything, but they are spiritually complete. They say little about their themselves, and much about God's mercy and grace. They remember their own discipline, and they speak gently to other wandering souls. Troubles turn our pride into humility.

Troubles also help us to see God's blessings. Have you ever been sick? Do you know how it feels to lie in bed, barely able to move or eat? Now that you're better, don't you see that God is a gracious God? He has blessed you today, because you're not sick in bed.

Troubles make us hopeful. Some men may think that the pain of sickness will destroy them. Tried men can remember worse sickness that did not destroy them, so they are so calm and courageous, confident of improvement.

Troubles make us heavenly men. We have had too much trouble to think that this world would ever be our home. We are ready at any moment to fly away to our real home in heaven.

Trials produce spiritual men, and those spiritual men accomplish great things for God.

Romans 5:3-5 says, ". . . 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."

Never give up, because you have victory in Jesus. Do you want to develop yourself for your best service to God? Do you not wish to become a perfect person in Christ Jesus? Then welcome your trials with joy. Fly to God with them. Praise Him for sending them. Ask Him to help you to bear them with patience. Then let that patience have its perfect work. By the Spirit of God you shall become "mature and complete, lacking in nothing."

Owen Weber 2009