Jesus challenges us to understand that perseverance is more important than passion and enthusiasm alone. God’s goal for us is that we endure in our faith. God wants us to see it through to the end.
It isn’t about how we start. It is about how we end. May we persevere when passion won’t do it alone. Do the words “suck it up” have meaning? Perseverance is a huge thing. Let’s run the race. Let’s finish the course.
And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 8:13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Perseverance is the means through which the genuineness of faith is proved and Christian character developed. God promises to help his people during times of testing.
One way to avoid being tested is to test ourselves. The apostle Paul gave the directive to “test yourselves” while dealing with serious problems of sin in the church of Corinth.
- In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul was preparing to return to them a third time after having spent a great deal of time in Corinth already.
- Before his arrival, Paul sternly cautioned the congregation to prepare to face the issues he had previously raised.
- Part of Paul’s warning included these words: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that the Messiah Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).Paul did not want to have to exercise church discipline in Corinth. He would rather see the wrongdoers repent. But many of those who had fallen into immoral practices had taken to challenging Paul’s authority as an apostle. Paul intended to firmly discipline those who did not heed his warnings and repent before his arrival. So he turned their challenge around, asking them to examine and test themselves to see whether they were in the faith.
God allows faith to be tested. Testing proves the genuineness of faith
- 1 Peter 1:6–7 (ESV) — 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- Matthew 13:20–21 (ESV) — 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
Testing develops Christian character
- James 1:2–4 (ESV) — 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
- Romans 5:3–4 (ESV) — 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,