October 3, 2017
Do you ever feel like God is using scripture to try to speak something to you? That is precisely what happened to me this past week. I’ve been studying faith the past month in preparation for a Bible study. Naturally I read through the “Faith Chapter” in Hebrews 11. (I would suggest taking a moment to read it if you haven’t recently. There’s some good stuff in there.) As I read, I felt prompted to see what scriptures lead up to this incredible chapter. The verse right before Hebrews 11 caught my eye…
Hebrews 10:39 – But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life. (HCSB)
The verse right after Hebrews 11 is similar in content…
Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
Let me throw one more verse in the mix. On my wall is a harvest picture that I created a couple weeks ago to accompany my fall decor.
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
As I was pondering these verses there was a lightbulb moment. Do not draw back…run with perseverance…do not give up. The theme running through these verses highlighted by God was clear. Don’t give up. Persevere.
Now it may be helpful at this time to shed some light on my quiet, silent battle. For years (almost my whole life) I’ve had this quiet war within myself about food, its place in my life, and my desire to break free from its hold. There have been moments of victory, periods of failure, but mostly a never ending tug of war. Recently I was telling someone that I was tired of it all. It feels like I’ve tried every gimmick, every plan and nothing has a lasting impact. It’s enough to make we want to throw in the towel. Quit. Decide the battle’s not worth the struggle because there is no lasting victory anyway.
In the midst of this hopelessness and failure comes the words, don’t give up…persevere. I pressed into these words…leaned into them. As I looked for more verses on perseverance, again I was surprised at the following words in James.
James 1:3-4 – 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.
James 1:12 – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:25 – But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does. (HCSB)
These words surprised me because God had recently prompted me to start reading through James. In fact I had read these exact verses almost every day for the past week, but I had completely missed the message of perseverance hidden in James 1.
As I think through where God has been leading me the past several weeks it is clear that the underlying message through it all is perseverance. When I cried out to Him that I was ready to give up my battle, that I wasn’t sure I really wanted to fight anymore, the answer that came echoing back through scripture was…persevere. And that word gives me…HOPE.
God wouldn’t call me to persevere in a fight that I can never win. He wouldn’t call me to a battle that He knows I will lose. The very fact that He says to persevere shows me that I can be victorious. I can succeed in completely eliminating the tug of war in my heart. I know it may not be easy, but with God and His word at my side I can walk back into the battle and press on.
God promises that I won’t be alone in this battle. He knows that in my own strength and power, I could never succeed. But when I look to Him for my strength, He will give me the perseverance and encouragement to press on.
Romans 15:4-5 – For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, (NASB)
And as I persevere, even in those times where there seems like no progress is made, I will look forward to the day that the tug of war will be gone. The day that I will be able to walk in victory and receive what God has promised.
Hebrews 10:36 – You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Do you have a place in your life that you need to persevere? I would encourage you to print the verses below. Allow God’s word to encourage you to persevere and receive His promises.