In Matthew 24 and Mark 13, Jesus gives a preview of the situation in the world just before His second coming. This shows that will need perseverance.
We already detect the signs that precede Jesus’ second coming, namely increasing lawlessness. And thus, the love of many will become cold, this is: God’s love, poured out by the Holy Spirit. “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). It depends on perseverance! Mark 13 describes the very difficult time that Jesus’ followers will face before His return and here again His admonition to persevere.
Perseverance through dedication
Perseverance is therefore essential, but how do you achieve a character of perseverance? First of all through complete dedication to Jesus Christ with our whole heart, without any reserve. Keep the words of Barnabas in mind, as he urges the faithful “to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (Acts 11:23). The key word here is ‘with steadfast purpose’, namely to stay faithfully with the Lord under all circumstances.
As followers of Jesus, we can boast in our future. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (…) and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
But Paul says not only that we rejoice in our future, but also in the present. And he continues: “(…..) but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance. And endurance produces character and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4). The Greek word used here for boasting means rejoicing. Why should we rejoice over afflictions? Because of the outcome! Paul says in Colossians 1:9-12 that if we walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, increasing in the knowledge of His will, He will give us strength when we endure pressure, suffering and trials. Let us not forget that all things must work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28).
We benefit from testing, for when our faith is tested, it shows whether we persevere. “And let steadfastness (perseverance) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4).
In other words, every area of our character is influenced by persevering faith. For our character as a Christian, it is also important that we are prepared to be corrected by our fellow believers.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus says that because of the Word there will be tribulation or persecution (Matthew 13:21). Paul and Barnabas also prepared Jesus’ followers for trials and pointed out “that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). As believers, we are already part of the Kingdom here and now. Sooner or later we will experience afflictions in our lives and start to wonder: “why is this happening to me?” Then remember that this is part of God preparing us for His Kingdom.