The Power of Persistence

Aug 16, 2004 05:48 PM EDT

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained [it], or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing [I do]: forgetting what [lies] behind and reaching forward to what [lies] ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14 NASB)

To be a person who perseveres, it is necessary to:

* Learn the difference between being a failure and experiencing failure in life. Once we trust in Christ as our Savior, we are new creations, and our past failings are just that—in the past. Any future mistakes are to be regarded as temporary defeats; they do not define who we are. The apostle Paul learned this lesson well. No matter how many times he was reviled, chased out of town, or stoned, he did not consider himself a failure. Rather, he looked to His Lord to determine the truth about who he was—a forgiven sinner commissioned to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. (Acts 22:10, 21)

* Learn that encountering difficulties and tests does not automatically mean to change direction. They may delay us in reaching our goals, but they are not necessarily a dead end. Look at trials not as reasons to quit, but as opportunities that can assist us in reaching goals. During moments of defeat, God wants to teach us something that will help us succeed later on. Paul did not interpret the tragic events of his life as signals to stop. He knew what God was calling him to do and was committed to accomplishing it. He also experienced the power of persistence to transform his character and give him hope. (Romans 5:3-4) Such hope sustains us, even in our greatest crises.

Through the work of His Holy Spirit, God will give us the ability to stay on course. Do not give up. Draw near to God and allow His power to sustain you.

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