Week 6 – Perseverance
Friday 26th March
In our final week of Together Through Lent, we’re looking at the practice of perseverance. Neil shares some quick thoughts from Luke 22 as we see Jesus’ example of perseverance in the garden of Gethsemane.
Watch the video and spend some time being honest with God about the difficulties and frustrations of persevering in hard times. Jesus was. And listen to what He might be saying to you as you share honestly with Him.
Saturday 27th March
This week, Lynn has written our blog post on perseverance.
In this blog, Lynn Scott who is on staff as General Administrator for the Baptist Union of Scotland, shares her reflections on the practice of perseverance we see in Jesus’ life, and how even in the midst of challenging times, we are able to lift our eyes to the prize that waits for us with confidence.
Interestingly, scripture uses three different words – perseverance, endurance and patience – in different places, but all meaning the same thing – “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition; the action or condition or an instance of persevering is steadfastness”.
Jesus’ prayer at the Mount of Olives was his last prayer before he was arrested, and the words used in it clearly indicate his human nature “yet not my will, but yours be done”.
In v39 we read that ‘Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him’ – they trusted him, and living out God’s will for us is easier if we can also trust him wholeheartedly. It’s not wrong to tell God how we really feel, but by getting to know him on a very personal level – through prayer, scripture and worship – we are able to reach new heights of faith and we start to learn (however hard that is to accept) that God brings the best out of every situation.
This submission to God’s will gives us grace, allowing us to persevere even when we are totally overwhelmed, exhausted and want to give up. We have the blessed assurance that God is with us, not only in the small things of life, but also in those times of great trauma, despair and pain.
We constantly need to keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus so that we aren’t distracted by our desire to do things our way and in our time, and it’s not easy to learn perseverance, endurance and patience because the only way to do that is to be in situations where we need to develop those qualities – and that process is usually painful. We don’t receive these qualities as gifts – they are fruit of the Holy Spirit and we learn to develop them over time.
Only Luke tells us that Jesus sweated drops of blood – he was in extreme agony but he did not give up or give in. He went ahead with the mission for which he had come. The writer of Hebrews stated ‘if you want to keep from becoming fainthearted and weary, think about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him. After all, you have never yet struggled against sin and temptation until you sweat great drops of blood’ (Heb 12:3-4).
Why don’t we give up or give in? We were never promised that life as a Christian would be easy and we’re constantly reminded throughout Scripture that we must have a purpose and a plan because we will experience difficult times. However, there is always a promise of a prize – a promise that God will keep:
‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood that test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him’. (James 1:12)
Celebration Sunday 28th March
Today, as you tune in with your church family, take time to acknowledge the times it’s been hard to turn up. Persevering is worth it, and we’re called to live out our faith in community but it can be challenging at times, particularly over the past 12 months. Spend time talking and listening to God about that, and why not check in with someone else who may be struggling at the moment? Remind them it is worth it, persevering, not just for the times we find it beneficial, but as we serve each other in this way.
Monday 29th March
Today, we’re thinking back to week one, and prayer. Have you been persevering in any of the practices we put in place from that week (journaling, meditation, observing etc)? What could you try again to commit to regularly as we try to pick up the practice of Prayer?
Tuesday 30th March
We’re looking back at week 2 today, encouragement. How have you persevered in this practice since then? Maybe today is the day to recommit to one or more of those practices and incorporate them regularly into your life? Whether that’s writing a card or sending a message.
Wednesday 31st March
During week 3, we looked at the practice of Service and thought how we could serve those around us. Have you managed to keep any of those practices in your weekly rhythm? Why not take a look back at some of the practices we tried together and commit to regularly planning in one during your week?
Thursday 1st April
Today we’re thinking back to week 4 and our practice of Connecting with Creation. Are there any practices from that week you could try again? A Meat free meal once a week? Helping tidy up public spaces nearby as you walk with a pal?
Friday 2nd April
Last week, we looked at Thankfulness and how we might put this into practice in our lives. Are there ways you have been persevering in the practice of thankfulness this week? Look back at our practices and incorporate one into your regular weekly rhythm.