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Part of being human is wanting to experience success and accomplish the goals we set for ourselves. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when we face adversity that threatens to set us back. Often the difference between success and failure isn’t intelligence or book learning, but our willingness to keep going. When we feel discouraged and think we can’t go another step, knowing what God says about persisting and persevering gives us strength to keep moving forward.
Persistence and perseverance are good, as long as they aren’t misdirected. We can spend months or even years spinning our wheels trying to move in a direction God doesn’t want us to go. This is the wrong kind of persistence that yields no results. When we step out of the way and let God set our course, things begin to get very clear and everything we need to do clicks into place. “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
We live in a culture of “me-ism” that encourages us to put ourselves first and foremost, in the center of the circle. This can block our progress. Our blind spot can cause us to struggle to reach the goals we set for ourselves, instead of the goals God wants us to reach. We greatly increase our chances of success when we listen to God’s voice instead of to the voice of our own human reasoning. “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).
Persevering in the things God tells us to do instead of the things the world tells us to do puts us in the supernatural realm. Following His prompting is guaranteed to generate resistance in a world that doesn’t know God. When we feel that external pressure applied to us, we endure because we know we’re going in the right direction. “You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full” (Hebrews 10:36, TPT). Correctly dividing the Word in this area gives us the discernment to know the difference between God’s perfect plan for our lives and what we have decided to do for ourselves.
Perseverance involves patience, which is a godly trait. Abraham was a good example of someone who patiently walked in faith regardless of the odds. He no doubt faced numerous opportunities and temptations to pull his faith off the field, but he didn’t. “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:15). Patience is defined as constantly, consistently remaining the same regardless of what happens; God rewards this kind of unwavering belief in Him.
Christians living in the world without being part of it face many spiritual traps the devil has laid out. People determined to choose their own path in life are the ones most likely to fall into these pits. They stubbornly persevere in their efforts to deliver themselves but make no progress. However, the picture is different for believers who patiently persist. “Stand firm with patient endurance and you will find your souls’ deliverance” (Luke 21:19, TPT).
There’s nothing wrong with resolutely persisting, as long as we set ourselves on the right thing. It’s impossible to see every situation brewing that can derail our carefully-laid plans and stall our progress. Persevering in what God tells us to do spares us from train wrecks up ahead. Letting Him call the shots gives us success.