2 Peter 1:5-8 (Click on any Bible link in this article and you may choose to read the verses from other translations)
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. –New International Version 1984
In my last posts in this Bible study series I discussed how adding knowledge to our efforts to be good may cause us to recognize areas where we may need to develop a sense of self-control. Today we will discuss the need for perseverance as we face struggles in a way that honors Christ.
In our walk with Christ we may come across obstacles that are very difficult to overcome. Perhaps it is a struggle with an addictive habit. You may have been thrown into a working or personal relationship with a person who continually rubs you the wrong way. Perhaps you are struggling with health or financial issues that seem so overwhelming that you feel like giving up. And you may be struggling with persecution because of your faith. But God calls us to persevere in each of these circumstances.
Our struggles may or may not be the result of sin in our lives. Our struggles give us the opportunity to share our faith with others who are going through the same struggles yet don’t have the hope we have. And other times we may struggle because God has placed us in training for service at some point later in our lives.
We can take encouragement from Hebrews 12:1-11 for God disciplines those he loves as sons. God’s discipline may be painful, but it is given for our good so that we may share in his holiness.
The Apostle Paul said many times that we should consider it joy to participate in hardship and suffering for the sake of Christ Jesus. James, the brother of Jesus, also echoed the same message, that to suffer in Christ Jesus was pure joy and a blessing. This theme is seen in the above scripture and in the next five scripture references below.
Hebrews 10:32-39 Hold on to your confidence in the gospel of Christ. You will be rewarded richly in heaven for struggles and persecution endured on earth.
James 1:2-18 Trials are pure joy. Testing of your faith develops perseverance
James 5:7-11 Have patience in suffering as did the prophets in the past. Stand firm as Christ will return and will bless those who have persevered.
Romans 5:1-5 tells to rejoice in our suffering because suffering produces perseverance.
Rejoicing in suffering doesn’t come easily. Where do we get the patience to persevere and endure? Even more, to rejoice in suffering?
Proverbs 19:11 tells us that wisdom gives us patience.
Colossians 1:11 reminds us that it is God’s power that enables us to have patience and endurance.
Romans 12:12 tells us to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Let us pray with King David in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”