The Secrets of Staying Power

the secrets of staying power

The Key to Perseverance

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:16-18)

The key to perseverance is to see your world from up on high. It’s like an airplane ride. On the ground, it’s raining and cloudy. The freeway is jammed with traffic. Your stomach is like a knot and your face is red, as you honk your way through the traffic to make it on time to the airport for your flight. You ask, “Why, Lord, is this happening to me?” But then you finally take off in the airplane. The cars get smaller and smaller. The traffic jam is smaller. The buildings, the freeways, the houses, and the schools are all getting smaller. The metropolis begins to look like an intricate crystal structure. Then you see the mountains stand majestically, and the oceans shimmer in the sunlight, and the forest emerge from hiding. Finally, you pass through the clouds, and into radiant sunshine. You now see the things that are “unseen” from the ground. You realize then that the world that God created is really beautiful, if seen from God’s perspective. Moses, persevered, because he fixed his eyes on that which is unseen: By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Heb 11:27)

Steps to Perseverance

 Know God’s greater purpose for suffering

  • Rom 5:3-4 — Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
  • James 1:2-4 — Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
  • James 1:12 — Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

Know God’s greater purpose for allowing criticism:

  • Judges 8:1-3 — Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they criticized him sharply. But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.
  • Acts 11:2-18 — So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him… Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was…(Peter explains why he now eats with the uncircumcised)… So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?” When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”
  • Prov. 15:31 — He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.
  • Prov. 25:12 — Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.

Know your long-term goals

Always know why you’re doing a task. A task becomes discouraging if you don’t know your purpose and goal behind it. But even knowing simple goals is not enough. You must also know those great, over-arching, long-term goals that give meaning and purpose to the smaller ones.

Christians can find their life-long goals from Scripture, e.g. to glorify God in our work, to become more Christ-like in our character, to battle evil in this world. Paul illustrates the power of knowing your long-term goals: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize… We do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Cor 9:24-27).

Stop pitying yourself

Instead, focus on Jesus Christ, and how He may be glorified through your present sufferings. cf. 2 Cor 4:5 — For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. Also 2 Cor 4:8-10 — We are had pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; stuck 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.

Develop deeper, more supportive relationships

Renew your relationship with your spouse. Join a supportive church fellowship group. Develop deep friendships. Paul found continuing joy and encouragement through his deep friendship with Timothy.

  • 1 Cor 4:17 — Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord.
  • Phil 2:22 — But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because like a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.
  • 1 Tim 1:2 — To Timothy my true son in the faith…
  • 1 Tim 1:18 — Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction…

Meditate on the promises of God

In your devotions and prayers, try to bring all the promises of God together by meditating on the place of perfect peace and rest. Think of Paradise in the new heaven and the new earth. Put aside all your momentary troubles, and focus on the eternal things: the Lord Jesus Christ, peace, harmony, joy, rest, glory. Fix your eyes “on what is unseen.

Sometime go out and watch a stonecutter hammering away at a rock. He might hit the rock a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Then, suddenly, at the hundred and first blow the rock splits in two. Was it the one blow that split the rock? Only in an immediate sense, for that one blow would have accomplished nothing if it were not for all that had gone before.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. — Hebrews 12:1

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

You measure the greatness of a man by how much it takes to discourage him.