Summary: In this world, we shall face tribulation. For this reason, perseverance is an important grace to develop in our lives. In this Bible study, we learn how to do just that.
The word is the Greek HUPOMONE. In Classical Greece it described the ability of a plant to thrive in a harsh environment - literally in the deserts and rocky slopes. In later Greek and Jewish literature, it was used to refer to the ’spiritual staying power’ which enabled the faithful to die for their God.
In the First Century of the Common Era, it was used for the characteristic of a person who is not swerved from their deliberate purpose and retains their faith and piety through even the greatest trials and sufferings. It means to keep continuing forward with an attitude of hope and a smile on the face even when confronted with unpleasant circumstances and great distresses.
II. NEED FOR PERSEVERANCE.
Christ never promised us that this life would be a bed of roses. The Gospel never said we’d go to Heaven on flowery beds of ease. Rather, we are promised that we shall have hardships and tribulations in this life, especially if you are a faithful Child of God.
B. Jesus cautioned potential disciples to count the cost. Luke 14:25-32; 9:23-24
C. Only those who persevere receive the reward. Revelation 2:10-11
III. MUST NOT REPEAT THE UNFAITHFULNESS OF ISRAEL
A. Exodus of over a million Israelites (603,550 men over age twenty) Numbers 1:46
B. Israelites left Egypt’s bondage with joy and gladness. Psalm 105:43
C. Only two persevered and reached Promised Land. Numbers 14:26-32
IV. PERSEVERANCE IS DEVELOPED IN TRIBULATION.
A. Viewed in faith, tribulation is a friend rather than an enemy. Romans 8:28
B. Israelites failed to see the benefits of their trials. Deuteronomy 8:1-5, 15-17
One of the most fascinating events in nature is the emergence of the Cecropia moth from its cocoon - an event that occurs only with much struggle on the part of the moth to free itself. Some time ago, I had the privilege to see this extraordinary event.
But, the story is frequently told of someone who watched a moth go through this struggle. In an effort to help - and not realizing the necessity of the struggle - the viewer snipped the shell of the cocoon. Soon the moth came out with its wings all crimped and shriveled. But as the person watched, the wings remained weak. The moth, which in a few moments would have stretched those wings to fly, was now doomed to crawling out its brief life in frustration of ever being the beautiful creature God created it to be.
What the person in the story did not realize was that the struggle to emerge from the cocoon was an essential part of developing the muscle system of the moth’s body and pushing the body fluids out into the wings to expand them. By unwisely seeking to cut short the moth’s struggle, the watcher had actually crippled the moth and doomed its existence.