For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance
2 Peter 1:5-6
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Which is it?
I think Peter shows great insight by inserting perseverance AFTER self-control. If you have no self-control, how can you possibly persevere in anything?
How many people do you know who have tried every diet under the sun and within a week they decide that it’s not working. (I’m guilty of that one!)
How many people do you know that resolve to work out three to five times a week but stop because they get too sore or tired? (That’s me, too…)
What about those Christians who resolve to read their Bibles and pray daily only to end up filling their time and minds with everything BUT God? (Yep.)
*A little bragging inserted here*
I’ve learned a lot about myself this year. This is the first year I have stuck to a goal – to read an average of two books a month, or at least 24 books for the year. I’m right on track with that.
I’ve also begun a routine where I *try to* run three+ miles three times a week. I began in about February and have kept it up so far.
I also took the “Daniel Challenge” found in the first chapter of the book of Daniel. He and his buddies ate nothing but produce and water for ten days – so that’s what I did. I was able to stick with a vegan, gluten-free diet for a week and a half. Talk about trials of various kinds! (see James passage above)
But all these things are trivial compared to the perseverance it takes to become a follower of Christ. You do realize that disciple and discipline are from the same root, don’t you? To become a disciple of Christ takes an extraordinary, seemingly supernatural amount of self-control – which leads to perseverance.
Jesus said that this world will be full of struggles. He said that following him could cost us EVERYTHING. He warned us that the path to life would be narrow and difficult.
But He also promised that those who have left everything will get it all back and then some in the kingdom of heaven. He promised that those who are faithful unto death will receive the crown of life. He promised that those who relied on God and in the power of His strength will become great in the kingdom.
Paul put it this way. I LOVE these words:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18