Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not only a beginning in the ways of God, but also means continuing in those ways as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: He said, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” So under God, dear believer in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, “Aim higher.” The only true conqueror who shall be crowned in the end is he who continues until war’s trumpet is blown no more.
Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies.
- The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can tempt you to quit your pilgrimage and settle down to trade with her in Vanity Fair.
- The flesh will seek to ensnare you and to prevent your pressing on to glory. “Being a pilgrim is weary work and makes me wonder: Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Can I not have at least a holiday from this constant warfare?”
- Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the target for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: He will insinuate that you are doing no good and that you need to rest. He will endeavor to make you weary of suffering; he will whisper, “Curse God, and die.” Or he will attack your steadfastness: “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as others do, and let your lamp go out like the foolish virgins.” Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: “Why do you hold to these doctrinal creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: Fall in with the times.”
So, Christian, wear your shield close to your armor and cry earnestly to God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end.
By: Jim Poelman, author, reframemedia.org.
Scripture Reading — Revelation 3:7-13
“I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” — Revelation 3:8
Jesus’ letter to the church in Philadelphia is filled with praises and promises. This is a letter of love and encouragement. Encouragement from Jesus is what this church needed for the long road of faithful obedience.
In the course of my pastoral ministry, I have met faithful followers of Jesus who experienced many disappointments and difficulties. I would often attempt to encourage them with Bible passages like Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd. . . .” But some would respond, saying, “Pastor, the words of Psalm 22—‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’—speak more honestly of my life experience.”
I often wondered what Jesus would say to these hurting friends. The letter to the church in Philadelphia is Jesus’ word to his hurting people. “I know that you have little strength,” he says, “yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Jesus knows how tired we can get from walking the long road of obedience, “even . . . through the darkest valley,” as Psalm 23 explains.
Like a long-distance runner who needs encouragement for the last part of a race, we need Jesus to cheer us on to keep his word and not deny his name.
May God give you the grace to endure patiently today and to trust that Jesus will do all he promises for the ones he loves dearly.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? … Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? – Romans 6:1-3 NKJV
Paul began Romans 6 with a series of questions. This was no accident. In fact, his entire letter to the Romans is filled with questions. (In the NKJV, Romans has 75 questions!)
Paul knew the impact questions could have. Inserting a question changes the flow of the writing and makes the words come alive for us. Whenever we read a question, we should feel challenged. We are being encouraged to stop and think, to consider the issues and how we might respond.
We see the impact of questions throughout Paul’s ministry. For example, questions were central to what he wrote about the Lord’s Supper: “Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this?” (1 Corinthians 11:22). Each question provides an opportunity for readers to answer Paul for themselves and think about the issues he discusses.
Jesus frequently used questions. The Old Testament, too, is filled with questions, presenting opportunities for us to think about what has been said. Although not a question, the word “Selah” is used over 70 times in the book of Psalms, encouraging us to pause and reflect.
As you read the Bible, remember to think about the questions asked. How would you respond? What is the deeper meaning for you?