2 Peter 1:5–9 (NKJV)
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
We have been making our way through Peter’s exhortation here in his second epistle. He has instructed us to employ all diligence as we add to our faith virtue, to our virtue knowledge, and to our knowledge self-control. Today we consider his exhortation to add to our self-control perseverance.
Webster defines perseverance as “the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult; continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition; steadfastness.”
It is appropriate that Peter places this quality here following his admonitions to acquire virtue, knowledge, and self-control. For it is easy to practice virtue for a day; easy to grow in knowledge by reading the Word of God for a week; easy to manifest self-control for a time. We’re all familiar with our New Years’ Resolutions and how effective they typically are. “I’m going to exercise regularly; lose weight; read my Bible through in a year; pray daily.” We start out well – but soon our resolution is put to the test. Shall we persevere?
Spiritually the same principles apply. By the grace of God, all those whom the Spirit gives new life will most certainly persevere in the faith. Nothing shall overcome our faith – not the onslaughts of the Evil One, not hard trials and providences, not the disappointments of life nor the betrayal of friends nor the dissolution of our local congregation. The Spirit so works within His people that He shall not fail to bring to completion the good work that He has begun in our lives. Thanks be to God!
Therefore, we must be all the more diligent to add to our self-control perseverance – for as we persevere we display the Spirit’s work in our lives. One fruit of the Spirit’s presence is perseverance. To give up, to turn away from Christ, to abandon the faith, to become spiritually cold and lifeless, is to reveal that the Spirit has not been at work in our lives. But to persevere is to display His grace to the world.
So are you weary? Are you faltering in some commitment you have made? Is your marriage challenging? Is your work hard? Is it difficult to show respect to the authorities that God has placed in your life? Then the Word of the Lord comes to you today: persevere! Continue steadfastly in the work of the Lord. Perseverance is “the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult; continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” Don’t give up.
Reminded of our calling to persevere, let us confess that we often find ourselves giving up in our hearts; we become discouraged and downcast; we have need of God’s forgiveness and the grace of the Spirit to empower us to persevere. So let us kneel as we confess our sins to the Lord.