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Summary: Hold on and press on to what God has given You can also listen at www.preaching.co.nr

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PERSEVERANCE

Jesus said "seek first the kingdom of God", the Amplified Bible put this verse "aim at and strive after" the kingdom of God. This ’aiming’, ’striving’ or ’seeking’ may be defined as ’determination’ or ’perseverance.’

The Bible refers to perseverance in many different ways; endurance, patience, steadfastness these are only a few of the words used for perseverance. The Greek meaning for perseverance is ’to continue steadfastly giving unremitting attention’ or simply ’devotion through effort’.

Peter encourages us to add perseverance to our self-control because perseverance is the application of self-control. Perseverance keeps up the fight against temptation, keeps us aiming, striving and seeking that which God has promised. Perseverance needs a purpose, a goal or a dream. Therefore, perseverance is holding on to what God has given and pressing on towards that which God has promised (see Phil 3:12-16).

What are you aiming for in your personal walk with God ? What are we aiming for as Church ?

"Many people fail in life because they believe in the adage; If you don’t succeed, try something else. But success eludes those who follow such advice, Virtually everyone has had dreams at one time or another, especially in youth. The dreams that have

come true did so because people stuck to their ambitions. They refused to be discouraged. They never let disappointment get the upper hand. Challenges only

spurred them on to greater effort" ’D,B,Owens’

PERSEVERANCE AND SUFFERING

Our suffering in life can be physical sickness, a mental depression or a spiritual oppression. They may come from persecution or affliction. Jesus said "that the world would hate us" (see Jh 15:18-19). The Christian response to sufferings is to persevere.

Perseverance does not take our troubles away but it enable us to hold on and press on regardless of suffering (see Rom 5:3-4, 15:4-5, 2Cor 1:6, 6:4, 12:12, 2Thess 1:4, 2Tim 3:10).

PERSEVERANCE AND PRAYER

Abraham and the Persistent widow are examples to us of perseverance in prayer (see Gen 18, Lk 18:1-8). Perseverance in prayer is simply not giving up when the mind is wondering or when the body is tired. Pressing on in prayer when it seems evil has won or when logic tells you ’this is how it is meant to be’. If your God given dream, desire or goal says otherwise then don’t give up (see Eph 6:18).

PERSEVERANCE AND INSTRUCTION

Paul encouraged Timothy to continually watch his life and doctrine that it remain in line with God’s instructions (see lTim 4:16). We must watch we are not carried away by present day ’godless myths’ and ’old wives tales’ such as superstitions and gossip

(read lTim 4). Perseverance in instruction is more than believing the right doctrine it is living according to the instructions of God’s word. Doctrine that is not put into practice is ineffective and unproductive and makes us selfish and blind to the needs of others. Perseverance is active in putting into practice its doctrine; ’doing good to others’ (see Gal 6:9-14), ’growing in love for others’ (see 2Thess 1:3-4), ’becoming holy as God is holy’ (see lPet 1:13-16 & 22) and ’seeks the best gifts’ (see lCor 12:31, l4:39, 2Cor 12:12).

PERSEVERANCE UNTO GLORY

While persevering in God’s instructions we are being changed from glory to glory but we are not yet like Christ. We have not yet taken hold of that for which Christ took hold of us. We must persevere until that blessed Day when Christ returns (see Phil 3:12-16).

STRENGTH TO PERSEVERE

"May the Lord direct you hearts into the love of God and the perseverance of Christ." 2Thess 3:5

In the context of this passage Paul is encouraging the people of God to obey the instruction of their leader however difficult those instruction may be.

We must then take God’s love for us as our motivation to persevere in following the instruction of God’s Word. In certain circumstances to follow God’s instructions may mean taking the more difficult route.

It is then we can remind ourselves of God’s love and rely on the promise that "in all things He works for the good of those who love him" (see Rom 8:28).

Also we can take Christ’s perseverance as our example. Jesus suffered in many ways even to the point of shedding His blood that the will of God may be fulfilled in and through Him (read Heb 12:1-14).

Perseverance means we are going against the tide. We therefore, have a struggle to overcome sin and Satan, the flesh and the mind, and the pattern of this world. We cannot overcome in our own strength. Therefore, Paul reminds us that we "can do everything through Him who strengthens us" (see Phil 4:3).

Paul’s prayer is that the people of God would be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might (see Col 1:11). He says he is confident that God will strengthen His people (see 2Thess 3:6). Peter says whatever we do we must do it in the strength

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