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24 February, 2013

The Discipline of Spiritual Perseverance - Part 2

Something Oswald said in his February 22 devotion that brought it all back so vividly, prompted me to wonder if God taught him in the same way too. “But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, “because you have kept My command to persevere . . .” (Revelation 3:10).Continue to persevere spiritually.”

To me, it was strange to see how Oswald just ended with Revelation 3:10 at the end. In going through my trials to learn spiritual perseverance and endurance, the Holy Spirit kept reminding me of revelation 3:10. It was like the goal of this season of my hardships was to teach me how to get there. It was strange to see that my life was falling apart, I was experiencing loss that I could never recover from, the waiting, the uncertainty, and the pain of it all that were ravaging my soul, yet none of it was as big as the outcome that was revelation 3:10. Every time it was too hard for me to continue, my mind started fidgeting, the Holy Spirit would bring to mind this verse. Instantly and every single time my reaction to the remembrance was like a fussing baby getting his pacifier.   

As I watched myself now and how I am equipped to endure the challenges of my daily Christians life, I knew all I went through was worth it to get there. If you ask me if I would go through it over again, my answer to you would be no and no.  But was it worth it knowing what I know now? Then yes it was worth every moment.  

God does not make such a drastic statement in Revelation 3:10 without equipping us for the journey. As I was going through my spiritual preparation to learn perseverance and endurance, I also knew this was one more verse in the Bible that we Christians misunderstand terribly. While the true possessors of the faith need not to worry about this verse, but anyone else in the Church who simply professed to be Christians are included in that lump.  As professed Christians, we cannot make out that He would impose such conditions on us. 

So, when our explanations and our own false beliefs cannot quite explain why certain verses are in the Bible, we tend to ignore them, minimize them and eventually we put them all in the back of our mind and act as if they do not matter. But, it is precisely because we feel the need to act in this manner towards God’s Word we should worry about who we are in Him. God will not forget. In this same Bible that some of us insist that our explanation suffice, He did say in Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”. This strong verse is as valid for the unbelievers as it is for the believers.

When you feel there are verses in the Bible that do not work well with your idea of Salvation, do not question the verses or God.  You should not ignore those verses either. If you were not blinded by ignorance, pride and disobedience, you would understand these verses are there to differentiate the real things from the impostors. God will use His own Word to show you why you did not make the cut like He did to rebuke Satan in the wilderness. So, a rule of thumb should be to question your understanding and release yourself in the hands of God with an open heart and mind to help you put the pieces together. If you insist on redefining the word to suit your explanations, you might find out it was a foolish attitude when it is too late.

The reason that He can make such statement like Revelation 3:10 is because He knows He who began a good work in us will see it to completion. What He asks of us, He always equips us through grace. Learning to endure is the mark of the true child of God. As you learn to endure you also learn to live the faithful and the abiding life.

Stop repeating history over and over again. Adam & Eve got too comfortable, took God for granted and disobeyed, what was the result? Did they expect it? No - The Israelites did the same thing too when they were in the wilderness, did they see God promises? No. Cultivate the habit of not readjusting God but yourself. Do not be too rigid in your false beliefs. Satan has trained some of us so well, that we see him where he has nothing to do with our situation but only our stubborn and prideful self. Yet, places where we should see him, we don’t. When we cultivate this kind of attitude where we readjust God’s word instead of ourselves, Satan does not even bother to assign more demons to you because there is no threat of losing you. He knows your pride and harden heart will get you there on your own.

Never mind how long you have been roaming in the Church. Never mind your status there. Do not get caught up in your own hypes. Do not get too comfortable with your Christianity. Take the habit of examining yourself. Ask yourself what has Christianity brought into your life beside traditions, rituals, feeling good about myself, and repetitions? Then find out what it means to be the reverse of a steadfast Christian. Ask yourself what has changes in you inwardly?  Even if you do not experience God and even if it takes time to get there, but after twenty, thirty years and more, you should be aware that inside of you, you are made of a different fibre by now.

Just in case you wonder why it is important to God to make perseverance and endurance such an important part of the Christian life and why He wants nothing to do with idleness and laziness you should check out this. One search in the thesaurus for the word perseverance brought the definition “constancy” and the synonym of the word constancy is:
abidingness, adherence, allegiance, ardor, attachment, certainty, decision, dependability, determination, devotedness, devotion, doggedness, eagerness, earnestness, endurance,faith, fealty, fidelity, firmness, honesty, honor, integrity, love, loyalty, permanence, perseverance, principle, regularity, resolution, stability, staunchness, steadfastness, steadiness, surety, tenacity, trustiness, trustworthiness, truthfulness, unchangeableness, unfailingness, uniformity, zeal

The opposite of someone who persevere is: 
apathy, idleness, indolence, laziness, lethargy

John Maxwell said:  A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose – a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.”

Are you going through a hard time right now? Know that when you are in a position where you are experiencing hardships, whether you brought it on yourself through unwise Choices, or it is brought on by God is not really the point. Go through it with Him in mind and purposely live for Him. Do not try to surround yourself with people and things just to keep your mind busy. Make Him the center of your life. Give Him your undivided attention. Persevere through it all with Him in mind then you will find all that Maxwell mentioned in the quote above, by grace has become yours. Through His grace you will find those words that make up the synonym of the word “constancy” have become part of the fibre of who you are within.