It would be difficult to overstate the value of perseverance—but not impossible. More to the point, it’s easy to look at perseverance the way we see an iceberg and notice only the part that is above the waterline and miss the more significant portion below. Perseverance is a glorious thing but like everything else, it’s not done independent of God. Perseverance is in fact, the outworking of God in our lives. Eugene Petersen offers this:
God sticks to His relationship. He establishes a personal relationship with us and stays with it. The central reality for Christians is the personal, unalterable, persevering commitment that God makes to us. Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God’s faithfulness. We survive in the way not because we have extraordinary stamina but because God is righteous.
Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods, motives, and morals, but by believing in God’s will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasms. It is out of such a reality that we acquire perseverance.
This is exactly what the psalmist means when he notes in 129:3 that his oppressors “have not gained victory over me.” He has persevered. And how did that come about? Verse 4 supplies the answer, “the Lord is righteous.”
We’ll take all of the perseverance we can get. We’ll cheer on those who convict us with magnificent displays of it. But we’ll also be sure to understand that God is the cause of it and make sure He receives the ultimate glory. We’ll see the perseverance in our life as us cooperating with the work of our Father in our lives.
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)