"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope (Rom 5:1-4, KJV). " . . . and perseverance, proven character . . . " (NASB). " . . . perseverance, character . . . " (NIV). "And steadfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope" (ASV).

Devotion 5 of 24


"Patience," or "perseverance," is continuing to run the race set before us, even when it is up hill, so to speak (Heb 12:1-2)! It is being faithful in the furnace of fire and the lion's den, and on the mountain of blessing and in times of peace. It is "fighting the good fight of faith" when energy has been spent (1 Tim 6:12). Perseverance is fulfilling the admonition, "And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary" (Gal 6:9). Those who "lose heart" are losing the race! Fainting in the day of adversity confirms that strength is small (Prov 10:24). But those who do not faint, falling to the ground in weakness and discouragement, are winning the race. Their very perseverance is a testimony to the effectiveness of Divine grace and power.

Perseverance does not assume triumph with no setbacks. Believers must take care to see things correctly. A misconception of the faith-life will make one vulnerable to the devices of the evil one. Hear optimistic Paul testify on this point. "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body" (2 Cor 4:8-11).

Perseverance, or persistence, makes the individual superior to pressure ("pressed on every side"). It lifts one above the debilitating effects of confusion ("perplexed"). When fierce opposition arises ("persecuted"), perseverance pushes the individual beyond its reach. When the enemy pummels us down to the ground, and it appears as though he is stronger that we thought ("struck down"), perservance enables us to get up and run again. Perserevance runs through the storm, through the rain, and in the brightness of the noonday sun. It progresses in the dungeon and on the sick bed, as well as when we are compassed about with prosperity and health.

The one who perseveres is hard pressed, but not crushed down! Perplexity is often experienced, yet believers do not despair. Even though they are persecuted, they are not abandoned. Sometimes they are struck down to the ground, but they get up again. Perseverance assumes opposition and hardship. It functions in a militant arena, and faces apparently insurmountable odds--yet it continues on!

Let it be clear, perseverance is found in the believer, but it is a gift of God. It is the grace of God working through our faith that produces perseverance. It is not the product of human ingenuity, or the result of fleshly disciplines. Furthermore, it is necessary if we are to obtain eternal life.

PRAYER POINT: Father, I praise Your name through Jesus Christ for Your grace and power. I ackowledge that any perseverance found in me is due to them.

-- Tomorrow: FRUITFULNESS --