We all admire those who persevere in the face of adversity. People who never give up no matter how tough things get. You may wonder why some people are better at persevering than others. The Bible indicates that a lot of it has to do with mindset. People who persevere have a different way of looking at adversity and challenges.
Adversity is defined as difficulties or problems that arise during the course of something. In other words, it's when things don't go as planned.
In life, we will all face adversities big and small. Some adversity seems to come from left field and other challenges we bring on ourselves. No matter how or why it happens, nobody is immune to adversity.
We have all heard the phrase "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." And there appears to be some truth in that statement. But why? Why do we grow and get stronger through adversity?
It is because we learn perseverance. We learn to push through the tough times. We learn that we are capable of more than we ever thought possible. And we learn to lean on our faith when all else is lost.
The people in the Bible faced plenty of difficulties, but they still managed to overcome them. Moses, Nehemiah, Paul, David, and Peter are a few examples that immediately come to mind. In fact, the Bible is full of stories of people who faced adversity and persevered.
Job is a great example of someone who faced unimaginable difficulties. In the book that bears his name, he faced the death of his children, the destruction of all his possessions, and he was even covered in boils from head to toe. If that's not enough, his wife told him to "curse God and die" (Job 2:9).
Talk about adversity! And yet, Job persevered. He kept his faith. Job went from being a man with everything to a man with nothing, but he did not lose hope. I always remember this story when I'm challenged with my own adversities. Despite all of his difficulties, Job never lost faith in God.
Perseverance is the quality that allows us to continue working toward our goals even when things are tough. It's what allows us to get back up after we've been knocked down. It is what keeps us going when everything else tells us to quit.
There are many Bible verses about perseverance and adversity, thankfully! We hope these verses will inspire you and give you hope as you navigate through the inevitable storms of your life.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
The wisdom in this verse tells us to keep vigilant, keep walking along the right path in the right direction, and continue to be strong in our faith. Never doubt that Our Father will carry us.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
2 Peter 1: 5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
2 Thessalonians 1:3-5
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,[ and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches, we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result, you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
1 Chronicles 16:11
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Even as Christians we are going to have difficult patches. We are not exempt from adversity. But we do have the promise of God that we will not endure the storms of life alone. Romans 8:31 says, “They have a God who loves them, is for them, and is with them in and through it all.”
The SMART framework is for setting goals that are Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant and Time-bound. This is a powerful process that can not only increases your chance of success but also helps you to focus on what is important.
I have found that a similar type of framework can help when you are going through challenging times. Here's how it works:
What is its purpose? What strategies are needed? How will you, your family, or others benefit? Draft a statement to keep you focused on what you want to accomplish. For example: "I will get a job that pays for all of my bills and allows me to put some money into savings and donate to my church."
Break down your goal into manageable steps. Create a timeline to accomplish the sub-goals. Use reasonable dates to accomplish each of the smaller steps. This might look like the following:
Maintain a positive attitude throughout the process. Write down your successes on a sticky note and post them on your mirror or social media.
Surround yourself with people who support your goal and remind you of your purpose. Knowing that you are not alone in your journey can help you endure rough patches.
It’s important to take care of yourself. From good sleep and nutrition to exercise and prayer, find what works for you and stick with it. A thorough self-care routine puts us in a much better position to avoid mistakes and self-inflicted challenges.
Use a journal to document your thoughts and progress. Writing things down can help you to process your emotions, see your progress, and avoid discouragement. By revisiting our past challenges, we gain the strength to face new ones.
You are chosen and you have something special to offer the world. When we know our worth we can be confident in ourselves and handle difficult situations with perseverance.
To recap, these 7 steps can help us improve our ability to persevere. Believe it or not, perseverance is a skill that we can work on and improve throughout our lifetimes. With the help of the Bible verses about perseverance above and some regular practice, you can get stronger and better able to handle adversity when you are faced with it. We all know adversity is a part of life and is not likely to stay away for very long, so we might as well get better at dealing with it.
Adversity and failure are inevitable parts of life. What matters is how we respond to them. Do we give up, or do we persevere in spite of the odds?
Practice breaking down adversity into manageable steps that you can conquer to improve the situation, and believe that you can do it. The more we persevere in our Christian lives, the more we are blessed in the ability to persevere.
In other words, practice makes us proficient! (As a former teacher, I never liked to use the word “perfect”, because we know that only Christ is perfect. But proficiency is something we can achieve).
Let us not forget that the Lord promises us if we persevere under trial we are promised the Crown of Life (James 1:12). And we need to remember that God promises to be our comfort and to be with us always. He is ever present in times of trouble. In your times of need, seek refuge in God's perfect love!
Let us close with a prayer from Psalm 86:11:
Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
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