Chapter 6 Perseverance

God is an excellent creator. He knew we needed to stand firm on His word. Our Father understood the trials and tribulations sin causes and left us humans with a way back into His grace (Romans 3:20-24). Its placing our faith in Christ that we receive the recipe for salvation. And one of the key ingredients of a saving faith is perseverance.

Christ is our greatest teacher in endurance (Hebrews 12:2). Our Messiah’s death, resurrection, and ascension is God’s way of showing us the example of an unyielding trust. Everything the Pharisees and Roman Soldiers inflicted He endured with an unshakable courage. Christ withstood the pains of physical death, and His resurrection opened the door for us to live with Him forever.

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Perseverance is indispensable to living in God’s Spirit. We will experience times when our spiritual life becomes a challenge. It’s difficult staying focused on living righteous in uncomfortable circumstances. Sometimes we give our best efforts and fall short. God understands we are not perfect and is pleased when we continue humbling ourselves.

Remember, we live in a broken world where sin dominates and others say hurtful words. This makes it imperative for us to be persistent in our Christian walk. No matter how faltering we become it’s our willingness to follow Christ (2 John 1:9) that enables us to overcome adversity.

Perseverance keeps us concentrated on God’s promises because with Christ as our anchor nothing can separate us from heaven. The more willing we are to stay faithful under every circumstance then our trust in God grows, and we can withstand the storms of life.

What are the essential principles of perseverance?

Hope and willingness build an uncompromising Christian foundation. They are the essence of devotion and replaces complacency with spiritual actions. God is pleased when we continue seeking Christ in both good and challenging times. By practicing those attributes we show God our hearts and prove our faith.

We will suffer the temptations of the flesh and by staying focused on our Christian walk our ability to live holy increases. God’s gift of salvation assures us of our inheritance to heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4). And when we embrace Christ nothing can shake us from His grip because God’s enemy is defenseless against the purity of Christ. Living in God’s Spirit turns our tribulations into stepping-stones and takes away the pains of sin.

  Hope

Hope is trusting in the Lord without reservations. God’s truth isn’t a theory, and the Holy Spirit gives testimony to this. Christ our great intercessor (Romans 8:34) guarantees security in God’s house (Romans 8:31-39). In Christ we are on solid ground, rich in God’s Spirit and able to live faithful in a world full of temptations. Nothing in Satan’s domain (the world) can overtake God and our unity in His Trinity give us an eternal hope.

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In Paul’s Epistle to the Romans he showed us the fruits of hope.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

It’s here, where Paul identifies eternal hope and defines the way God responds to those who abide in Christ. Faith is the leader of conviction and gives birth to endurance. We can’t escape tribulations and hope keeps our eyes on heaven (Colossians 3:1-2). Christ has defeated sin and in distressful circumstances, we find peace because God sheds grace on those who live in His will.

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Rejoicing in tribulations isn’t easy since they bring discomfort to our hearts. But without accepting them, we can’t unlock the door of perseverance and build Christian morals. It’s Christ who removes our carnal outlook on troubles, replaces it with an eternal vision and gives insight to its fruitfulness. Once we understand trials are opportunities to grow our faith, then we find eternal security and know our hope is real. The more we respond to life in a spiritual way our Christian lives shines and Christ gives us the courage to accept the realities of the flesh.

 

God promises justice to those who are loyal to Christ. Christ sanctifies us, and this leads us to God, who anoints us with the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the most satisfying human experience one can have with God because it’s the way God pours out His undeniable love. Here we are living in God’s kingdom and experiencing real salvation.

Another way hope bears fruit is through spreading Christ’s message with others. Disciple Peter explained it this way.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:15-17 NIV)

Those verses look complicated to comprehend, but they are simple. Here Peter addresses glorifying (revere) Christ as the Lord. When we follow God’s command and place our faith in Christ’s hands then, we become fit to share with others the wisdom of salvation. This wisdom isn’t from us but comes from the Holy Spirit. Christ is the one that prepares us to speak the truth, and God’s Spirit places the words we are to share in expressing them with others. It’s the Holy Spirit that sanctifies us and radiates our eternal hope.

Carrying the gospel comes with responsibility, and this makes it crucial to guard against self-righteousness. God is watching the way we present His word and when we share it with love our conscious stays pure. Remember we are working for Christ, and God knows man’s hearts, so we don’t have to be judgmental.

God is the judge and when we are rejected or persecuted for proclaiming Christ; He will make them accountable. Rejection is tough, and its painful being persecuted but salvation teaches us God despises evil doers.

Hope keeps us persevering because we understand our stay on earth is temporary. Apostle Paul sums up hope this way.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

 Willingness

Willingness plays a major role in persevering. Christ knows we become discouraged and doesn’t expect us to have an abundance of willingness. Jesus used the mustard seed to explain the smallest quantity of faith yields an abundance of God’s blessings (Matthew 17:20). Well, the same holds true in our Christian efforts. The Lord isn’t concerned with the quantity of action but takes notice of its quality.

One of the toughest circumstance to stay willing is when troubles arise, and we become overwhelmed. Sometimes life events happen close together, and we can’t find relief. We might assume God has abandoned us because we are experiencing many calamities. Those occurrences are common, and it’s through Christ we find calmness under every known predicament to humanity.

We are never alone since Christ is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). And by exerting Christian efforts no problem or trouble is too large for God. The Lord is waiting for us to turn to Christ and the moment we surrender, our suffering fades away. Then we realize our greatest relief is improving our personal relation with Christ.

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The Prophet Isaiah spoke these words: “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19). Obedience takes persistent action, and willingness is the backbone of effort. Sometimes it takes everything in us to keep our minds focused on God’s truth because Christ’s enemy tries its best to turn us away. We are secure in Christ and by staying active in our devotion, God will heal our spiritual wounds.

Our brethren Peter left us an outstanding message of perseverance: “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). It’s in developing a personal relationship with Christ that keeps us moving forward instead of retreating. And the best way to know Christ is embracing God’s word. When everything around us becomes uncertain; God’s word brings comfort to the heart and soothes our souls.

The Bible holds the key to finding the way God intends for us to handle the agony of the flesh. Everything Christ taught on living in God’s Spirit is written throughout its pages and is at our disposal. Our personal experience with God’s grace keeps us eager to continue seeking Christ and this where willingness aligns itself with perseverance.

Early in my salvation impatience got the best of me. I wanted instant relief from my problems and God’s answers came at a slow, subtle pace. Since then, as I have grown in spiritual maturity, my ability to wait (Romans 8:25) for His answers has increased. This has taught me to practice perseverance and continue taking action even when I don’t hear God’s voice. I love God and the way He works in my life. Today, when I struggle and strive to live in Christ, everything turns out better than I could have imagined.

When we stay humble and place Christ above everything in our lives, remarkable changes transpire. Nothing in God’s plan is an accident. The inner peace Christ brings us comes from our willingness to stay focused and not yield to our problems. It’s in persevering where we draw closer to God and find serenity. Without persistent devotion, we can agree life is unbearable.

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Dead Faith: Concealed Sin

 

Did you know it’s possible to have faith and leave God out?

Many people proclaim faith in God, but their actions say otherwise. They speak of God’s word, but lack the wisdom in living holy. Their lives don’t imitate Christ and in times of distress, they are troubled by God’s silence.

What is dead faith?

Dead faith is a self-knowledge of God’s words lacking the qualities of a Spirit-filled life. Here the individual leans on its interpretation of God’s will unaware of the dangers it brings to one’s eternal resting place. Spiritual intelligence can’t stand up against the evil one. We don’t have the strength required to fight Satan.

In the Epistle of James, we find the Biblical definition of dead faith. Here James points out that faith without works is dead (James 2:20). He emphasized being a doer of God’s word (James 1:22). Words are meaningless until put into action. Action speaks volume in the kingdom of God.

 

One way dead faith enters a believer’s life is through concealed sin. Un-confessed sin is damaging to our spiritual growth. Nothing good comes from hiding sin. Even though God knows we sin our responsibility is to confess our transgression.

Salvation isn’t a free pass.

We must be diligent in our walk with Christ or face eternal consequences. A Christian life is an example of God’s living Spirit manifested through selfless service to God, Christ, and others. A real believer’s life is full of good deeds, helping to spread the good news Christ brings to the faithful.

Unbelievers watch the way Christians behave and this makes it imperative for us to back up our words in action. And a Spirit-filled life radiates a loving, forgiving and compassionate response to life’s difficult terms. Spiritual integrity doesn’t use words for its God’s way of attracting others to a life centered in Christ.

Holding onto inequity is unwise for we won’t find God’s mercy (Proverbs 28:13). And a life absent of God’s mercy is full of unnecessary pain. Most of our struggles can be traced back to a hidden sin. It shouldn’t surprise us that concealed sin causes us trouble.

 

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A secret sin is an act of disobedience. We are commanded to confess our particular sins (Leviticus 5:4-5). It’s easy to overlook the need of owning up to our sins. We can’t afford to let disobedience rob us of our inheritance with God.

Yes, God has forgiven us, and Christ’s death has taken away sin, but we must be an active participant in our salvation. Remember, God will judge us according to the way we live (Ecclesiastes 12:14). And Christ pointed out the need to look at our sins (Matthew 7:3).

When God saved me, I didn’t understand the value of confessing sins. Salvation was a great revelation and in my spiritual infancy, this worked.

Then one day I had trouble living holy. I couldn’t stop myself from disobeying. My constant prayers and humble approach weren’t paying off, but God was listening. The Lord answered and showed me the way to confess sins. It involved confessing to Christ and asking for the guidance in repenting.

The way this works is simple. One of my biggest stumbling blocks is pride. So when I realize my prideful ways I pause and pray to Christ: “I confess to you Christ, my sin of pride. Forgive me for my trespass. What is my repentance?  Your will always not mine. Amen.” This works for any sin and brings me in line with God’s will. Sometimes I have to wait and listen for the answers. But Christ never leaves me guessing on what I need to do in making amends for my wrongs.

Our willingness to give God our best effort is crucial to our eternal lives. Christ doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but wants us to strive for spiritual progress. And our admission of wrongful behavior opens the door to Christ’s abundant peace. There is no greater Christian freedom than the one God gives.

A vibrant faith welcomes self-examination (Haggai 1:5). Concealed sin thrives in darkness blocking Christ’s light. It’s painful looking at our sinful nature but to grow in God’s Spirit, we need to know our misconduct. And confessing our findings makes our faith alive.

 

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We have discussed one way of identifying dead faith. Un- forgiveness, selfish prayers, and judging others are indicators of a faith unfavorable with God. Remember the Pharisees had faith but Christ exposed it as dead. Our hope is secured through a living faith anchored in the body of Christ.

 Building a Christian Character

The greatest way to show the world God is alive is centering ourselves in Christ’s sovereignty. A life anchored in God radiates to others a Spirit full of love, forgiveness, and selfless service. A real Christian’s character manifest the way Christ lived when He was here on earth. So it becomes our responsibility to abide in Christ, pick up our cross and stand firm on God’s word.
The essence of a Christian is for Christ to use His faithful believer as a living witness to God’s truth. To the believer, this means unity in the body of Christ. And for the unbeliever, it’s an up close look (1 Peter 2:12) at the impact God has in relieving the pains of sin. This truth doesn’t speak in words. It is lived in spiritual action.
  
   
Building a Christian character is an essential part of a believer’s conviction. It has two key components. First, it includes a sanctified life where faith in God through Christ removes sin and makes us holy. The other is an edified life full of God’s mercy, grace and a continual willingness to grow more Christ-like. They are as crucial to a Christian’s life as are air and water are to our physical survival.
Sanctification begins with God’s gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). Here, God has blessed us with His mercy and is pleased with our faith. Glorifying God through trusting in His word is favorable to Him. God wants to save us and does if our faith is in Christ (John 14:6). The Lord preserves our souls so we can glorify Him in heaven. Without this gift, our room in His house doesn’t exist, and we end up in the fire of Gehenna.
Once God saves us, then He anoints us with the Spirit of truth (John 14:16). God uses the Holy Spirit as undeniable proof of His existence. You will know the time it happens for the purity of God’s presence is overwhelming, astounding and extraordinary. Satan can’t match the indescribable love God brings to you. This is a transcending soul changing experience with heavenly rewards. 
It’s the Holy Spirit that unites us to God and Christ as one and completes the Trinity. Here we become spiritually whole, and our souls spared from God’s wrath. God is astonishing and allows us a way out of sin and into His eternal care. And the original sin, Adam and Eve committed washed clean through the baptism of Christ’s resurrection (1 Peter 3:21).
God’s grace is remarkable, and that motivates us to improve our spiritual lives. A willingness to grow under spiritual lines is the backbone of edification. Humility plays an integral role in a holy life. One quality of an edified life is staying teachable and being humble means we learn from Christ’s divine wisdom.
Alone we can’t overcome sin. Our willpower is useless for we don’t have the spiritual muscle required to win the battle over evil. Satan is cunning and uses subtle ways to convince us to walk away from God. This is the reason we can’t afford to become complacent.
Complacency is being satisfied with our current spiritual progress unaware of hidden dangers. Evilness is a patient foe waiting for an opportunity to destroy us and by staying spiritually stagnant the door to disaster swings open. One of the greatest defense against our adversary the devil is to continue strengthening our dedication to Christ. Jesus has defeated evil and for us to have His protection means we must be diligent in our Christian actions.
     
Now we have a general understanding of the characteristics of building a solid Christian foundation, then we can see the need to continue to improve. And God makes His affection so irresistible we want to continue building our eternal lives. 
 Isn’t God incredible!
7 Christian Principles to Grow Your Faith:

Building a Stronger Trust Series

Part 6 Brotherly Kindness:

We walked through the first 5 Christian principles in this series, our trust in God has grown. And our faith is stronger.  Disciple Peter opened our eyes and shown us a way of interconnecting valuable Christian characteristics into our faithful lives.

The spiritual power they release came from God and manifested through Christ. Our hearts are prepared to spread kindness.


In times of distress, how has receiving kindness changed your life?

God designed plan is incredible. He understood, we needed each other’s kindness. The comfort from a warmhearted act soothes the heart and renews our spirit. This uplifting experience is God’s way of loving us through the kindness of another.

God knows the precise time when we are in the greatest need of human kindness. Faith isn’t just believing, but knowing the Lord is working through others. Compassion helps ease the pains of living. We don’t always know what’s best for us, but Christ does.

Behind the scenes, Christ is guiding others to reach out and impact our lives. The Messiah’s compassion is constant. Jesus inspires others to be kind, and the Holy Spirit ensures we understand this came from God. This blessing is a gift.  Our faith grows by doing the same.

Day in and day out God is commanding His children to bring joy to each other hearts. The Lord is pleased when we go out of our way and show kindness to a suffering person.  

We can’t keep what God has given unless we give it away. Our part is to be ready and willing to pass on kindness since we never know when Christ will call on us to comfort others.

Exchanging pleasant interactions with others illuminates the godliness inside our hearts. The world experiences the reality of Christ, and its action proclaims God’s word. We are commanded to live in God’s will and by being nice to others, we are in unison with our Father.

Kindness goes further than words.  Sincerity is the key to expressing compassion for no one likes phoniness. God fashioned every man, woman and child with the ability to understand earnestness.

The greatest defense from falling into phoniness is humility. Through humility, our hearts are in its purest form. And our spirits are at God’s commands. By humbling ourselves, Christ directs our lives according to God’s divine plan. Integrity ensures we are sincere for acting under God’s guidance.

God places us in positions to be kind, including our worst enemies. A modest existence allows us to stay nice because we are not acting alone. Remember, God rewards humility with wisdom.

It’s easy to agree upon general ways of sharing kindness. Polite words, respecting others, and opening doors when someone needs help to name a few. Those are the obvious ones.
A deeper meaning of Christian kindness lies in your devotion to God.  
Good deeds are kind acts. Salvation directs us to do good, avoid evil and spread the Gospel. Goodness has a calming effect leading to serenity. One of the early fruits of kindness is inner peace.  

In my walk with Christ, a whole new outlook on life has emerged. I enjoy being nice and is a direct result from worshiping God. Watching the smiles on the faces of those receiving kindness rekindles my spirit. This refreshes my soul and inspires me to continue seeking Christ. God’s rewards me with love, and that makes me grateful.

I have changed the most by showing kindness to those I dislike. Forgiveness is the main reason. When I let go of my animosity towards the ones who hurt me the nicer I became of them. Then I’m able to carry the strength from those in other areas of my life.

One of our Christian objectives is to grow in the image of Christ. God understands we won’t be perfect. It’s our efforts in persevering that matters. When it’s tough to be kind, Christ will be there to help. We will discover our greatest challenges in life solved through reliance on Jesus. God has no weakness.

The way kindness strengthens our faith is best illustrated in our attitudes towards our neighbors. Our past gives testimony to the changes Christ has made in our troubled relations with others. Every time we overcome a problem from turning to Christ our trust in God has grown.

Christ has taught us to be like-minded so let’s unite. We can make those around us more comfortable by spreading kindness. Let’s increase our faith by being kind to everyone we can.