Perseverance: We're in it together
Christian perseverance is a community project, not a solo effort.
Perseverance is on the minds of many evangelical Christians in the wake of the recently announced departures from the faith by a couple of high-profile, professing Christians. Their apparent rejection of Christ and the faith offers an opportunity for us to make sure we are taking advantage of the means God has given to help us endure to the end. We face fierce opposition to our endurance, but we are not unarmed.
One of those means is the Bible. We must continue to trust the inerrancy, authority and sufficiency of Scripture. We should rehearse the promises of God in His Word. We also have the gospel. We should remind ourselves of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus -- and the standing we now have as a result. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. We need to rely upon and obey Him. We have the example of Christ, who endured the cross "for the joy that was set before him" (Hebrews 12:2).
So the church is not the only God-given means for our perseverance, but it is an indispensable one.
Our brothers and sisters in Christ -- especially those whom we are in covenant with in a local church -- are gifts to help us endure. And you and I are gifts to help them endure.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, "[E]xhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13). The purpose of our exhortations of each other is to avoid being "hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Sin would deceive us and produce hardened hearts toward God. Exhortations to and from brothers and sisters can help keep us from abandoning the family.
Worshiping together also is a way we help others and receive help from others to endure. In the same letter, the writer says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25). Encouragement happens in community. Corporate worship helps us persevere.
Also in Hebrews, the writer tells the Christians, "See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God" or, as the New American Standard Bible says, "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God" (Hebrews 12:15). We have a God-given responsibility to help one another endure until the race is finished.
So let's encourage one another. Let's show up for one another. Let's leave no one behind.
-- Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash