- persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 CSB “Therefore, we ourselves boast about you among God’s churches—about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions that you are enduring. It is clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, ”
The Thessalonian Christians and Christ-followers today can relate with one another rather poignantly. The Thessalonian believers were living out their faith in a time of growing violent opposition from pagan culture yet, they pressed on and leaned on the strength of our LORD. From that, they showed persistence in living out their upward calling in the face of mounting difficulty.
We today do well to remember and aspire to their example.
The year 2020 and the opening days of 2021 have been demonstrative of the fact that the wider mainstream culture is becoming all the more openly hostile towards the principles that make our Christian faith so distinct. While we in the U.S. may not be getting slaughtered for our faith in contrast to other parts of the world, there is no denying that it is becoming more and more difficult to live your life for Christ in this decaying and pluralistic society we find ourselves in.
However, this is exactly the time where we must remain steadfast. We must not abandon our post. History has shown us that the greater the opposition to God’s church, the more she thrives.
I know when you hear the word perseverance, you may want to emit a sigh of exasperation or weariness… or both. However, a source that we can look to for confidence, reinvigoration and resolve for God’s Kingdom is upon Christ Himself. Believers know the story of Christ’s trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, and within that, there lies one of the most vividly-beautiful truths about our faith in Christ: There was great hardship before His world-altering triumph.
Jesus was and still is the ultimate example of perseverance. He knew what the Father had predestined for Him to carry out:
2 Corinthians 5:21 CSB “He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Despite knowing full well all that His divine mission entailed, Jesus saw it through to its violent and world-changing fulfillment. You and I must remember though we might live in a world that deems us intolerant and narrow-minded, Christ knows exactly what being accused of all those things feels like.
Jesus warns us of this:
John 15:18 CSB “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you.”
We must remain dogged in our dedication to living and preaching the Gospel in our communities and the world over. We are entering a day and age where it is abundantly clear where to live for Christ will garner no approval from the world. Yet, we know that this is exactly the time to have a sense of urgency to spread the Good News.