Let’s try to define first what perseverance is. Perseverance according to Merriam-webster:
Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. The action or condition or an instance of persevering
But what is the difference between the general definition of perseverance and spiritual perseverance? Or what is spiritual perseverance? Is it entirely different from its standard definition?
I like what Oswald Chambers said in his book “My Utmost for His Highest”:
Perseverance is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen…A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated
Some may say that perseverance means that you need to endure but the tricky part is we may endure just for the sake of enduring, or wanting it to come to pass. But as what Oswald Chambers said, it is more than enduring. Enduring can be done with power of our will or positive thinking. Isn’t there too much self-help books already to help derail us from what spiritual perseverance is? Part of spiritual perseverance is enduring but that is not all. Because spiritual perseverance is working your faith despite opposition, knowing with full confidence that God would do what He said He would do. Spiritual perseverance is always held together by the foundation of who God is. It is not allowing defeat because your faith is telling you to hold on to this everlasting God, who gives us the victory in our Christian life
When I think about these things, I am reminded about Nehemiah in the Bible. In Nehemiah 1, he was moved to pray and ask God to help him in his desire to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He took the step of faith, asked permission from the king in Nehemiah 2 to allow him to rebuild wall – and when it was approved, he then went on with this great task. And when we’re always assigned to do a great task for the Lord, we can expect that there will always be opposition and sometimes even ridicule which Nehemiah experienced.
Nehemiah 2:19 - But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”
Nehemiah 4:7-8 - 7 Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. 8 All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it.
We see that even in Chapter 6 of Nehemiah, there was still opposition:
Nehemiah 6:2-4 - 2 then Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to harm me. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.
Take note of what was said in verse 4. Four times this was done to Nehemiah, but he remained firm. He persevered. He did not merely endured but he spiritual persevered. He persevered because he knows what God has called him to do. He said, “Why should the work stop…” He was so focused on the task assigned to him and in his faith in the Lord that he knows his Lord will make everything come to pass as long as he remains faithful to what was entrusted to him. And indeed, the wall was rebuilt in 52 days.
You may be going through a tough time right now. You may be experiencing disappointments in life. Your work might be crumbling right now and you just don’t know what to do. But if you know that you are walking rightly in the Lord, just continue to persevere. Trust Him and know that He is in full control. Do not focus on the circumstance but on who God is. He is a good and faithful God. He knows what He is doing. Or maybe you are experiencing setbacks in your ministry. Spiritually persevere. If you know that this is what God called you to do, then just be faithful in what He has entrusted you to do. In the end, it’s not about you. He will be the One to make your ministry successful – not you.
Life will always bring you sour apples, but you can always turn them into sweet juice only because of the Lord. When things are tough – spiritually persevere by working your faith in putting full confidence on who the Lord is and what He can do.
If you are going through a tough time right now, leave a comment below so I may be able to pray and hopefully, encourage you.