In a recent sermon, BTCP’s Executive Director, Kevin Bacon provided the biblical model for perseverance. We hope the following study will be beneficial for your discipleship and for strengthening those you serve in the church.
How to Persevere in Trials:
Recognize that everything is from God’s Hand – SOVEREIGNTY
Lamentations 3:31 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
Lamentations 3:37 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?
Put your hope in the LORD – HOPE
Because God is sovereign and good we can put our complete hope and trust in Him.
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Look to God for Answers – DIVINE KNOWLEDGE
God is the only true source of wisdom and knowledge.
‣ Look to the book of Job (one of the primary examples of response to suffering in the Bible) for a comment on God’s wisdom: Job 28:12 “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? . . . 23 God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, 24 for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. . . 28 And he said to man, ‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.’ ”
Notice that only God knows the way to true wisdom and the first step on that path that He gives us is to fear Him and shun evil because we fear Him.
If there is a way out, Take IT! – TIMING
We don’t have to stay in a bad situation if God makes a way out. Joseph asked the Cupbearer to remember him so that he could be released from prison. Yet it was still a matter of God’s perfect timing and two years before this took place.
1 Corinthians 7:21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.
The fact that we belong to God by faith in His Son Jesus Christ is of much greater importance than our temporary situation in this life. But notice that Paul says if you can gain your freedom, do so! Paul told us that while we should typically stay where the LORD has called us, it is certainly allowed for us to seek a better situation if possible.
In doing so, however, we must still make sure that we are obeying the clear teachings of Scripture and moving out of faith rather than our own wisdom and preferences. Even so, it still may take years for our deliverance to come as it did for Joseph.
Trust the LORD no matter how long it takes – TRUST
Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;” Job 13:15
And remember the what Peter said in 2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Serve God in the meantime – SERVE
We should have the same perspective as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
These three companions of Daniel had made the decision that they would serve the LORD no matter the situation or consequences. They knew and trusted that God could save them, but even if He did not they would die remaining faithful to Him. We should rely on and ask God to deliver us from trials but we must commit to remain faithful to Him regardless of when He works out our deliverance. Remember that many have been martyred for their faith down through the ages and in so doing they received the ultimate deliverance.
Don’t give up, remember your hope is eternal! – PERSERVERE
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Someone once said, “What is 70 years compared to eternity?”. That is really the crux of the matter. We must see everything we experience in this life in light of eternity. Our life here is but a moment compared to untold ages we will experience with Christ.
Are you firmly convinced that God alone is SOVEREIGN and therefore the only source of true HOPE and KNOWLEDGE? If you are, then you will TRUST the Lord completely no matter the TIMING of His deliverance from the trials of this world. You will seek to SERVE the LORD and those you can impact with Gospel and you will PERSERVERE no matter the severity or the duration of the trials you undergo.
When we are experiencing the trials of this world we must remember God is sovereignly in control of all things and He is working out our greatest good and His greatest glory. We can trust that His timing is always perfect. We should not think it strange that we must endure trouble because our LORD set the example for us.
Let us close with what He told us in the Gospel of John:
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”