Summary: This sermon was given to my youth group during a lock in on the importance and blessing of perseverance.
I. Survivor theme and show description
As you can tell, tonight’s theme is Survivor. In case you don’t know, Survivor is a reality show based on someone’s ability to survive a defined amount of time in a predetermined area (jungle, isolated island, etc..). If you have ever seen the show, its more about surviving in the social sense as opposed to the physical sense. Because each contestant is eliminated by their peers mostly based on their popularity with their tribe. I think the appeal of the show is people like watching the contestants go through the highs and lows that comes with the them dealing with so many people with so many different personalities while having to deal with daily life as a castaway.
II. Up’s and Down’s of Life
But unlike the show Survivor, life is not a temporary adventure out into the unknown with a defined ending. Its an ongoing, daily grind full of highs and lows. The highs are great. The highs in life are when everything seems to be going just as we planned. You know, you are doing great in school, you and your parents are seeing eye to eye, just everything seems almost perfect. Now, the lows aren’t so great. Quite frankly, the lows stink. I don’t think anyone in this room seeks out or enjoys going through the lows in life. But God says it’s the lows in life where we learn the most.
James 1:2-3, “2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Romans 5:3-4, “3Not only so, but we[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Lets pay special attention to the 2 verses in Romans 5 and break it down into 3 separate parts: suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.
IV. Suffering Produces Perseverance
Its only human nature to seek the path of least resistance. I think that is a fair statement. Think about it. If there were two ways to complete a task, one being much easier than the other and both producing the same result, which would you choose? The easier one, right? Of course, most of us would choose the easier one. But life doesn’t always throw us an easy task, does it? Life doesn’t always offer that easier choice? Life doesn’t always give us multiple choice on how to get through something, but it does give us multiple choice in how we are going to respond. We can either give up claiming its too hard or we can suck it up, put our heads down and forge ahead. That’s really our only two options. God says our sufferings produce perseverance. Which it does, but only if we allow it. Wait, are you saying God is not in control? NO! God is in control, but if we give up on something just because its hard, then we are not allowing God to mold us in that situation.
God will work in a situation if we allow Him and not give Him the ole stiff arm like we are guilty of often times. When we are bogged down in a situation are we going to just throw our hands up in defeat? No, we are going to dig in, get through it, and see what God wants us to learn in the process. This is called perseverance. The actual definition of perseverance is “remaining constant to a purpose, idea, or a task in spite of the obstacles.” And that’s exactly what we all are going to do in spite of our situations or circumstances. Jefro and Mclovin, Im sure there were many mornings that you didn’t want to get up or afternoons that you didn’t want to leave the house and go to workouts this summer, weren’t there? Of course, but you did it anyway. James, there are going to be many mornings where you are not going to want to get up and go to class this fall because in college, they don’t care if you are there or not. Its not like high school where you are forced to go or they will call your parents. So, you are going to have to discipline yourself to get to class daily and appropriate enough time for your studies. Its all about keeping your eye on the prize and not allowing anything to distract you or get you off course to that prize.
V. Perseverance Builds Character
The second part of the verse is, “perseverance produces character”. When we persevere through the struggles to reach our goal, what happens? What takes place? When we persevere through our struggles-when we gut it out through the tough stuff, God is saying we grow as people and develop character. If you think about it, when we do gut it out through our difficulties and make it out on the other side, we almost always look back and realize that we learned a great deal and usually better for it. I mean, I think we all can think of a personal example of this in our own life. Here is a great story about perseverance: