What does the word perseverance mean to you? According to one online dictionary site I looked at, perseverance means: “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” How many of us truly persevere when we encounter difficulties or delays in achieving success? How many of us persevere in prayer UNTIL we receive our answer? We pray and ask God for something, and if it doesn’t happen right away, we backpedal and say things like, “Well, God must not have wanted to give it to me.” Or, “If God wanted me to have it, He would have already given it to me.”
Sometimes, dare I say most times, when answers to our prayers aren’t forthcoming, God wants us to learn perseverance! It is a virtue God wants us to add to our lives in order to be effective and productive in our Christian life.
“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; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:4-6).
When all four of my boys were still living at home, my morning routine of getting us out the door on time was always a challenge — to say the least. It was the same routine every morning, so I’m not quite sure why it would be so difficult, but it was. It seemed like at least one of them was always misplacing something—usually his shoes. After five minutes of half-heartedly looking, he would scream, “I can’t find them!”
Did you look in the living room? Yes!
Did you look under your bed? Yes!
Did you look by the back door? Yes!
“Mom, I can’t find them anywhere. I guess I can’t go!”
“Wait a minute!!! You are going to half-heartedly look for five minutes and decide you can’t go?”
In usual God-fashion, He pointed the spotlight of that moment on me; and within seconds, I was asked the same question. How often do I ask God for something in prayer only to give up when it takes too long to receive the answer?
- “God, this is too difficult!”
- “God, it’s taking too long!”
- “I’m weary of this journey. It’s too boring.”
- “I don’t understand why this is so confusing.”
Perseverance in prayer is pivotal to progressing in our Christian walk. Do we really believe we are praying to a benevolent God who longs to answer the prayers of His children? Or are we simply breathing heartfelt longings to an empty sky?
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 NIV).
In the original Greek language, the verbs ask, seek and knock indicate ongoing, continuous action. He wants us to ask and to keep asking, seek and keep seeking, knock and keep knocking.
Next time you find yourself getting discouraged in the process, keep moving! Perseverance pays off in the long run. The very next verse tells us:
“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:8).
Perseverance leads to a productive Christian life!
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My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and together we have four boys: twins (18), a son w/ special needs (15) and our youngest (8). We love living in Colorado Springs!