"For this reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness, to goodness, knowledge, to knowledge; self-control and to self-control, perseverance" II Peter 1:5-6
The greatest example of perseverance EVER was Jesus! His horrific suffering inflicted Him with unimaginable pain and shame. But somehow, He was able to endure it and redeem us from the penalty of our sins. What can we learn from Him about perseverance?
I think the first thing we can learn from His suffering is:
The attitude of perseverance:
When I think of perseverance I think of David Livingstone, the pioneer missionary to Africa, who walked over 29,000 miles. His wife died early in their ministry and he faced stiff opposition from his Scottish brethren. He ministered half blind. His kind of perseverance spurs me on. As I run, I remember the words in his diary: "Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever me from any tie but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart.
The attitude of perseverance is essentially this - "life is not about me"! For the Christ follower life is about Him not you or not me! That means EVERYTHING is about Him! My success is about Him. My ambition must be toward Him. My strengths will be surrendered to Him, so will my weaknesses. My joys will come from Him and my suffering will be shared with Him and endured for Him.
I have been privileged to preach and teach in the David Livingstone Memorial Presbyterian Church in Livingstone, Zambia. What a thrill that was! But there would not be a Livingstone or a Livingstone Memorial Church except for the perseverance of Dr. David Livingstone. In the true spirit of the word "hupomone" - "enduring hardship in a way that turns hardship into victory".
Like Jesus, David Livingstone modeled the attitude of perseverance - "my hardship is not about me, I will not allow it to be about me! I will endure it for the glory of God and use it to strengthen my faith."
Are you struggling to endure your suffering?
Will you remember that your suffering is not about you?
Will you invite Him into your pain and give you His endurance?