2020 has finally come to a close. It was a year that looked completely different than any other year. It was a year that tested and tried many us of in ways that we would never have thought or imaged. However, the one thing that has us through this year that has seemed so bad is perseverance. As we begin 2021 we’re going to take a look at what the Bible says about perseverance.
Hang on to the Truth
Over the past year the world has tried to tell us many different lies. The world would have us believe that there is no hope and that way things are in the world now is the new normal and that things can never be made right again. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All of these things are lies and are an attempt by the forces of evil to keep you from knowing the truth and walking in the truth.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.Colossians 1:22-23 NIV
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.2 Thessalonians 2:15 NIV
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.2 Timothy 1:13 NIV
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.Hebrews 10:23 NIV
Be Like a Soldier
We have all had to soldier on over the past year. We have seen things and heard things that may have tempted us to give up the “missions” that we are on. However, look soldiers and other first responders we have to learn to put aside our personal feelings and stay true to the great mission given to us by God. This is the only way that we can persevere during both the hard times and the good times.
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.2 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV
Testing Builds Endurance
2020 was a year full test and trials, but those tests and trials can and will act as a refining fire if you allow them to. The tests and trials that may of you have gone through have taught you things that you probably never thought they would teach, and I’m sure looking back over the past year you will probably agree with me. Your trials help you to build your character, your endurance and your strength. All of with are needed if you are going to persevere.
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.1 Peter 1:7 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.James 1:2-3 NIV
Keep Resisting the Devil
2020 seemed to be a year full of events that tested your ability to resist the devil. It started off with a world wide pandemic that caused whole countries to shutdown. It saw the worlds most stable democracy rocked by violent protests. And it has ended with a Presidential election in the world’s most stable democracy being called into question over potential election fraud. Many of you are wondering how can we resist the devil when he seems so powerful and seems to be in such complete control of everything. The answer is very simple and is given by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesian church where tells them to put the whole armor of God so that they can make their stand against the devil and his schemes. It is only through putting on the whole armor of God, staying alert and being ready that you will able to resit the devil and stand firm against his schemes.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
Be Like a Marathon Runner
Prior to 2020 many of you probably thought life was a sprint and the faster you flew through life the better off you would be. Nothing could be further from the truth than this lie. Your life is a long distance race that takes perseverance and endurance to achieve the mission you have been called to do and to, therefore, finish this race we call life strong.
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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
2020 is over and 2021 has begun. Let’s use the lessons we have learned in 2020 to help us persevere in 2021 and beyond. Let’s remember the words of the writer of Hebrews quoted above to run the race perseverance. Remembering that our perseverance doesn’t come from our own strength nor does it come from the world and its thoughts and ideas, but rather our perseverance comes from Jesus Christ and fixing our eyes on him. Let’s make Hebrews 12:1-2 our verse for 2021.
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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV