Are You Willing to Persevere for Jesus?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Have you ever read Hebrews 6? I had a long time ago, but it had been a while until Bible study this week. And this passage is HEAVY, y'all! I'm talkin' an elephant-sized amount of heavy! Because reading about apostasy two weeks in a row, and discussing how people can see Jesus, hear His word, but in the end decide to reject it, it's just hard. But it's written so that we will persevere. In fact, that's one of the main reasons the book of Hebrews was written- to encourage us to persevere for Jesus and not give up.

The thing about apostasy is, no one ever thinks it's going to be them that turns their back on Jesus. Sometimes, people are blind to their own rejection of the faith, because they've invented a false version of Jesus that they follow until the day they die (in other words, "Christian" false teachers). 

My Bible study leader pointed out that even in the case of Judas, everyone thought that he was a true follower. When Jesus told His disciples that one of them would betray Him, no one said, "Well it's pretty obvious that it's going to be Judas. We've been seeing signs for months". On the contrary, the disciples started worrying and asking Jesus, "Is it me, Lord?" (Mark 14:19).

But the thing we need to realize is, apostasy can be avoided. That's the whole reason the author of Hebrews took the time to warn his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. He knew that a warning like this- one full of hard truths- would encourage them to persevere until the end. Because the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. And the truth of the matter is that we just need to finish the race.

Most of you have probably heard by now that Billy Graham passed away. And when we talk about perseverance, Reverend Graham definitely fits into the category of someone who ran a long, hard, and fulfilling race for Jesus, and now he has finally entered his true home.

There's a lot about Billy Graham's life that I hope to emulate in my own. I want to share Jesus with others in a way that speaks to their hearts. I want to glorify God until the day I die, no matter what I go through before I get there.

But persevering doesn't mean we all have to be preachers or missionaries. Perseverance simply means running a faithful race for Jesus through the ups and downs, the fruitful seasons and the fruitless seasons. Persevering for Jesus means that even when we feel like we can barely hang on, we hang on anyway, trusting God to keep us.

But how do we do this practically? How can we make sure we persevere until the end? How do we make sure we don't give up?

Persevere for Jesus. Don't give up. Run the race. How to persevere. #faith #Christianity #perseverance

"And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." -Hebrews 6:11-12 (ESV)

Stay in Scripture

God tells us that His word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), and that it is useful for correcting us and training us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Something that powerful has the ability to shape us and renew our minds (Romans 12:2). It's no wonder that God tells us to write His word on our hearts (Deut. 11:18).

 Pray, Pray, and Pray Some More

God tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:16-18). He tells us to bring all of our requests to Him (Philippians 4:6). And so that we have a good example to go by, He even tells us how to pray (Matt. 6:9-13). He doesn't expect that we always pray the same things or the same way, but He asks that we come to Him, trust Him, and commune with Him. And as we commune with Him, He will strengthen us with patience and endurance (Col. 1:11-12).

Seek Godly People

Whether we like to admit it or not, there's always power in community and accountability. The more we surround ourselves with people who love God, and who encourage us to seek Him and love Him more, the easier it will be for us to persevere until the end. People who do not surround themselves with wise and godly believers will tend to have a harder time persevering when the going gets tough. (Proverbs 11:14).

Unsure of where to find these godly people? Start by getting involved in a solid, humble, and Bible-believing church. From there you can meet Christian friends, get plugged into small groups, and find areas to serve (which also helps you meet people). Trust me, even the hard-core introvert needs godly people in their lives.

Persevering until the end is not easy. In fact, just like a marathon runner has to discipline themselves and train in order to finish the race, we also will have to discipline ourselves to take the steps necessary to finish the race. We can't just pray a prayer asking for salvation and then assume that we will make it until the end with no extra effort. No, we need the strength of God to carry on. Thankfully, He'll give it. 

The good news for us is that anything that God asks of us (including persevering until the end), He also gives us the strength and ability to do. He is the one who carries us through. Jesus is our salvation, not our own abilities. So while you should actively persevere, you can also trust that when your efforts are imperfect (as they will be) you have a savior who makes you righteous and will carry you to the finish line!

3 Steps to Help You Avoid Abandoning the Faith. #Faith #Jesus #Christianity

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