Summary: A message on encouragement.
PERSISTENCE: KEEP ON KEEPING ON
INTRO: One of the elements that ought to be present in the Christian life-style is persistence. To persist means in contemporary jargon “to avoid burnout.” It means to continue in the cause, to remain, to endure. Too many Christians grow weary in well-doing and really seem ill prepared for the grind of the long haul.
A Christian must develop the ability to keep on keeping on even in the midst of adversity. A good beginning is great, the big splash is great, the spectacular plunge is great; but in the end, the battle is won by those with the persistence to continue. Almost anyone can start something; not everyone has the faith to see it through.
I. PERSISTENCE MEANS KEEPING ON WHEN PRAYER SEEMS FRUITLESS (Luke 18:1-8).
One of the hardest places to be persistent is in the matter of prayer. We often call our requests to God unanswered when the truth is we have not given God time to answer. We have lost persistence in the matter of prayer.
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus taught a parable a- bout prayer. The effect was this: we “ought always to pray and not lose heart.” To lose heart is to faint, or to turn coward, or to give in. Jesus called for persistence in prayer.
God responds to persistence on the part of His children. God answers those whose requests are right, earnest, and persistent. God is willing to answer if we are faithful, and if we grant Him time to respond.
Many of our greatest desires demand that we enter into a persistent search. Often we have not, simply because we are impatient. We too soon give up on our prayers as unanswered. Are you persistent in prayer?
II. PERSISTENCE MEANS KEEPING ON WHEN LIFE IS TOUGH (Acts 14:22).
It is simply a myth to believe that life will always be easy, even for the Christian. When Paul went back to visit his converts from heathenism in some of the churches, he exhorted them to continue in the faith (See Acts 14:22). The idea was to remain in the faith, to stick it out, to keep on keeping on.
We are living, sadly, in a world of despair. Despair, when it rules the human spirit, causes a loss of all hope. Despair has occurred when anyone says that life is pointless. Paul at one time in his life said, “We are so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself” (2 Cor. 1:8, RSV). Even at the end of his rope, Paul had persistence. He tied a knot and held on.
To those in despair, to those for whom life is tough, God has the power to deliver if they are persistent. Suicide strikes fear in our hearts. Yet our lives are touched by it. It is the way out for many in despair, for many who have lost sight of the delivering power of God.
God’s word in the midst of extreme stress is this--there is an answer to your problems. Keep on keeping on. Life is a gift from God and therefore is not to be taken by one’s own hand. Persistence, not suicide, is the answer when things get tough.
III. PERSISTENCE MEANS KEEPING ON WHEN THE CAUSE IS WORTHWHILE (Gal. 6:9; Heb. 12:1).
Look at what the writer of Hebrews said, in Heb. 12:1. The word Witnesses is from the Greek word Martyrs: it means - They testify to us that God will see us through. Persistence is certainly required in fighting for any just cause.
Read what Paul said to the Galatians in Gal. 6:9. How many battles for Christ could be won if we simply did not grow weary and lose heart? Persistence is the key to any worthwhile endeavor.
Persistence is the secret behind the great achievements of life. The electric light bulb was not made in a flash. Edison worked on it, gave up on it, and experimented with it for months and months. The idea may have come in a flash, but the reality required persistence.
Some people have a flair for making great beginnings. Some people seem to have an inexhaustible reserve of ideas. They plunge into magnificent projects but they have no persistence. They can’t see things through to completion.
The incentive to start something and the persistence to see it through are two distinct things. A Christian heeds to learn to see it through to completion.
CONC: What really counts in the long run is if, with the help of Christ, we can keep on keeping on when our prayers seem fruitless, when life is really tough, and when we are involved in a great cause. Persistence means that when we fall, we get up again; when we seem to despair, we look up to God’s deliverance.