Run with Perseverance

By Scarlett Stough


God has a “race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1) Whenever an athlete enters a race, she knows the distance she has to run and has trained for speed and endurance accordingly. But the race a Christian begins after receiving the Holy Spirit is different. We don’t know the distance (our life span) or the degree of difficulty of the course for us personally. When we accept this challenge, we also accept the responsibility for finishing it. If we want the “blue ribbon” or “the gold medal” at the finish line, we must not quit. (Hebrews 10:35-39; I Corinthians 9:24-27)

“Follow me,” Jesus said. When people made excuses why they couldn’t, he said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62).

Later on, after giving a summary of world conditions between his first and second coming, Jesus said, “By standing firm (or enduring or persevering), you will gain life.” (Luke 21:19) Life with God is our prize for finishing our Christian race. We also enjoy life with God now as we run that race. (John 14:16-18)

What are we to persevere in doing?

  • Persistence in doing good (Romans 2:6-7).
  • By persevering produce a crop (Luke 8:15).
  • Patience in the face of suffering (James 5:7-11; II Corinthians 1:6).
  • Perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring (James 1:12; II Thessalonians 1:4).
  • Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete (James 1:2-4).
  • Patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus (Revelation 14:12-13).
  • Hold on to what you have until I [Jesus] come (Revelation 2:25).

Jesus did not promise the easy life to his followers. (John 16:33) We have the same temptations everyone else does. (I Corinthians 10:13) We have health, economic and other kinds of troubles. Persecutions, imprisonment, torture and abuse are a reality for many Christians today as in ancient Smyrna. (Revelation 2:8-11) We might ask: Is there a benefit to following Jesus? Is there a cost for not following the Way of Jesus?

Let’s look at the cost of not being a follower of Jesus:

  • Without God, mankind is deserving of death and is descending into ever increasing evil (Romans 1:18-32).
  • Sin deceives, and through the commandment put me [and you] to death (Romans 7:11; 6:23).
  • You were dead in your transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1).
  • We were by nature objects of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).
  • A fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God (Hebrews 10:27).
  • If any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
  • No entry into the Holy City (Revelation 21:27; 22:15).
  • Right now, in this life, receiving the consequences for breaking God’s law such as making enemies of people you have hurt or wronged in some way (James 4:1-3).

Let’s look at some of the benefits of persevering in the Way of Jesus:

See Ephesians 1:3-14

  • Every spiritual blessing in Christ.
  • Holy and blameless in his [God’s] sight.
  • Predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.
  • Redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
  • Marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

See Romans Chapter Eight.

  • No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
  • The righteous requirements of the law met in us.
  • The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.
  • He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
  • Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
  • We are children--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
  • The Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
  • We look forward to eternity with God in which there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:3-4).
  • Those who follow Jesus will be rewarded in this life and in the age to come with eternal life (Mark 10:28-30).

Those who add perseverance to their faith (II Peter 1:5-7) have a sure promise:

God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:6-7)

Keep on running. Everyone who finishes God’s race can expect a reward far beyond gold medals.

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: And to Self-control, Perseverance.

 

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