Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1, verse 4.
Perseverance: we’ve spent several days discussing it. It’s learning endurance in faith. It’s learning to endure in life. Successful people learn how to persevere. I think that, more than overcoming, conquering, or mastering something, successful people learn how to persevere. They learn how to bend without breaking, how to give without giving up or giving in to the travails of the world. More than any other quality, successful people, I think have learned to understand what is needed to persevere.
Do you remember “The Right Stuff?” The Tom Wolfe book that was made into a movie about the early US space program? ‘The right stuff’ was an ephemeral quality in Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield, and the Mercury 7 astronauts. It wasn’t just bravado (or bravery), knowledge, training, endurance, or physicality. The early space pioneers persevered. They had to learn to be built up in adversity and danger so that they could succeed in conquering the last great frontier.
James’ success was more than just this yet he had ‘the right stuff,’ too. Yes, he was martyred for his faith in his brother, Jesus. Through it, he was successful because he understood what God had spoken through him: perseverance in the faith completes mankind. James says that, more than anything physical, when we surrender to Jesus, we learn to persevere, and this is all we need to be whole.
Think about it. Faith is calming. It centers us and provides us with reference in the true north of Christ. Even in the worst adversities of life, we can remain calm knowing that He has our back. Faith is knowledge, because faith in God is the foundation of all knowledge and reason. Human reason is meaningless without the knowledge that the Triune God created us to know His love. Without knowing God’s love, there is no reason; life is simply brutal chaos.
Faith is what grows us. It plants the seed of wisdom that is essential to becoming a seasoned adult. Faith encourages us, teaching us to love through our hardest moments and to expand that the love that is Jesus to others, which is our primary calling in life. Faith is our mirror, showing us our failings while teaching us how to recover from them.
To live out the right stuff of faith, we must persevere. Sometimes we let the world make it tough for us to cling to Jesus. When we don’t, we stumble, we fail, we embrace the negative. Yet through it, Jesus is always saying “abide in me.” Abide…endure…persevere. As the King of Kings now lives forever, He is the ultimate expression of real success. To have faith is to persevere.
Persevering Lord, teach me to humbly persevere in You. Grow me into the mature follower You want me to be, and help me to always have my heart open to where You’re leading me today.
Where are you struggling with becoming mature in your faith walk?
What do you do to persevere?
How is Jesus calling you today to persevere, mature, and grow?