How do we become equipped to persevere?

2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” God’s Word seems to be a pretty good place to start.

1 Chr 28:9 (David speaking to his son, Solomon) “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” (Emphasis added.) The carrot always seems to have a stick behind it, but key part is in bold. Go to the Bible and go to the Lord in person (i.e. in prayer).

Lk 9:23 And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ This verse impacts so many subjects and here it is again. Once we learn and we’ve gone to the Lord and we have that personal relationship, we must step out in trust and obey him. True enough: we are saved by grace; but we were also created to do good things (Eph 2:8-10). When we deny ourselves and take up his cross we are actively developing perseverance. Can you learn the piano by studying a book or speaking with the teacher? No, those are important steps and can’t be skipped, but they’re not enough to make you a pianist. You must practice. You will need the teacher’s help and you will need sheet music, but you absolutely must put your hands on the instrument and play in order to truly learn and be good enough to make pleasing music.

If you go back and review the definitions from question 4.1 you will see perseverance is developed over time through action. The action is guided and made possible by the Lord. Still, we are the performers. It is His stage, His audience, His “piano,” but we are the players. He will clap when we succeed, and lovingly correct us when we miss a note. As we get better we will be able to play beautifully for the most horrendous crowd and will not be distracted by the hecklers. Don’t worry because God is holding the cue cards for the audience. Just trust Him and go out there and play.

This post is an excerpt (Question 4.4) from my book Ask James one.

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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17 Responses to How do we become equipped to persevere?

  1. Jerry Hill says:

    Lance, this is one of the very best short lessons on this subject I have ever seen anywhere! I love the illustration of the pianist! The acronym KISS, as I understand it, means Keep It Simple for the Simple- minded, that latter being me! You’ve KISSed this perfectly!

  2. Lance Ponder says:

    Jerry, thanks. I hadn’t heard KISS in quite that way, but I think that’s probably nicer than “keep it simple stupid” LOL.

  3. Lance Ponder says:

    Fr. Robert, I agree with more points of Calvin’s than not, though within Calvinism there is a spectrum. Perhaps at some point I’ll get around to analyzing the points of Calvin in this blog. The whole election/predestination/free will thing is a bit overblown imho. We try so hard to figure God out. **sigh** Instead we should worship Him and give thanks, not try to always be smarter than one another.

    • Lance,

      Your right there! But us theolog types, we are driven I guess? lol It has been a ride these last many months! But I hope a biblical theology born out of trial and need! Calvin is a good mentor! 🙂

      • Lance,

        It is no secret that my major theological history has been both Reformational and Calvinist! (Both my theological doctorates fall here). Though as I have noted I had a few years close to the Orthodox, and was Anglo-Orthodox in doctrine then. But that was not most of my years. I have been Reformed for well over 25 years! And yes, it is always back to the sources, i.e. Holy Scripture! But with lots of God’s humble pie! 🙂 Theology is a very humble task!

        • Lance Ponder says:

          Well said, Fr Robert. I’ve wrestled more than once with the points of Calvin. Side by side with Arminius I find myself drawn toward Calvin, though certainly they are interesting to talk about. I love theology too, but the Lord has shown me recently that my knowledge is far less important than my heart – love and obedience. I try to obey, but sometimes I feel like Paul’s thorn has nothing on me. LOL. I guess that’s not a humble thought, tho, is it? I am so inadequate – that’s why God must get the glory if anything good comes from me, eh?

  4. Norm Haslop says:

    I like your quiet and unassuming nature that doesn’t need to prove itself and relies totally on God and what He says. Too many times we let people push us over the edge and out on a limb. Let God be God and all glory go to Him – for that’s the way it’s going to be.

    • Lance Ponder says:

      Oh, it takes considerably more effort to be “unassuming” than you might imagine. I’m as prone to jumping to conclusions and being judgmental as anyone. I know that about myself and make an effort to think before I type, though I certainly do not always succeed. The great thing about online discourse is that you have a chance to read what you’ve said and hit delete or edit before you hit submit. 😉

  5. Todd Beal says:

    Once again, Lance, it all boils down to faith – God-given, heart accepted faith. Aside from this, there is no spiritual obedience, there is no victory, there is no nothing, only zealous failure.

    • Lance Ponder says:

      “Apart from faith there is only … zealous failure.”

      Wow. Brilliantly stated. Perhaps that should be a QOD. 😉 If I start that tho you’ll be featured as my QOD every day.

      • “Zealous failure” That is profound to think about! Lord let not my zeal be mislead, but faithfully standing on your Word! (Ps. 119:11)

      • Todd Beal says:

        Thanks, Lance. You know it is interesting that in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were zealous for God but they refused to serve God his way. They insisted on making their own facsimile sub-religion while leaving faith out of it. It is easy to look back and point the finger at the Israelite Pharisees, but humans are human and always have been. Phariseeism is just as prevalent today as it was back then, except now we call it legalism. Regardless of what word we call it, Phariseeism is religion minus faith, the zealous attempt to serve God our way minus his way.

        By the way, thanks for the loud chuckle. It brightened my day.

        • Lance Ponder says:

          “Pharisees were zealous for God”

          To put a finer point on that, I would rather say zealous about God, but not toward God. Many Christians thump their bibles … over the heads of others rather than opening it up, reading it, and obeying it. But I know that’s what what you meant. 😉

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