If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27 ESV)
Christianity is not supposed to be comfortable and convenient for anyone. Jesus describes discipleship as a narrow way, and few find it. As we journey through life, we continue to experience hardships and challenges – our anger, lust, envy and so on need continual guarding, and sometimes they win over us. Keeping our finances in order feels at times like tightening our belts during a feast. Relationships still struggle – misunderstandings, disagreements, and conflicts sometimes come in our relationships. Evangelism is challenging and many times unrewarding, yet God desires us to persevere. It is very tempting to quit in all our struggles. But is it worth it? The fruit of real discipleship will only be seen in heaven, not here on earth. It is like a farmer who planted lots of seed but will not know the results of his work until harvest time. God calls us to persevere to the end; otherwise, we are to be pitied of all people [see 1 Corinthians 15: 19].
How Do You Persevere to the end?
- Always remind yourself that you made a trade agreement with God – you seek God and follow Him, and He will look after you and your needs. He is faithful before, now, and will be faithful to the end.
- Know that all trials and hardships are only temporary. In this life, nothing lasts forever – both the good and the bad. Sooner or later, redemption or restoration will be at hand. Hold on during the tough times.
- Live one day at a time. Do not face all your challenges simultaneously and expect to win in all of them. You can only do so much – if we seek God and do the best we can with the time we have, that is enough.
- Seek help when you cannot face problems by yourself. The gift of being in a Christian community is our brothers and sisters. There are people there who can help us stem the tide of our personal struggle.
- Know that in this side of life, things will never be perfect. We will always have difficulties one way or the other, sooner or later. Only in heaven will everything be perfect. In the meantime, do your best to overcome your challenges in God’s wisdom and guidance. Patience is a Godly virtue you want to aim for.
- The true key to persevering to the end is to have a healthy relationship with Jesus through faithful daily prayer and Scripture. Even during the most challenging times, seek the Lord and spend time with Him. The harder your circumstances are, the more you should pray and be in God’s presence.
- Live like a victor now – because you are and you will be even more. Look forward when all these struggles and hardships disappear entirely forever. Be a conqueror, not a victim – see Romans 8:31-39.
OTHER SCRIPTURE PASSAGES:
- Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)
- For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18 ESV)
- Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 ESV)
- Other Bible verses: Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; Hebrews 12:1-2; and Romans 8:28.
FOR REFLECTION OR SHARING:
- What do you do when you feel like giving up?
- In what areas in your life do you need to get stronger?
Tom Caballes is a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with seven branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters [with his son-in-law and grand-daughter] live in Wellington, New Zealand.