What do you think of when you think about perseverance? Perseverance is a life skill that can be developed, like working out at the gym to build core muscles and improve energy. What is perseverance? It’s not about quitting when things get difficult. It’s not finding the closest exit door. It’s about remaining under pressure and continuing to do something, in spite of difficulties and obstacles. But humanly speaking, how can that be accomplished?
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:1 ‘Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.’
That little phrase “we do not lose heart” literally means “we do not burn out.” But how can we persevere when things get rough? What steps can we take, especially when things may not change for the foreseeable future? How can we ‘not lose heart’ during life’s difficult moments? Matt provided specific elements to help us continue to persevere, and avoid burnout:
Purity (renounce secret and shameful ways)
Integrity (not using deception)
Consistency (your walk is consistent with your talk)
Accountability (be accountable before other people)
Trying to do God’s job for Him
Overlooking Satan’s involvement in our lives
Focusing on doing rather than becoming
Perseverance — to remain under pressure without being crushed.
Questions for personal reflection or group study:
Read 2 Corinthians Chapter 4
- What does it mean to persevere in life and what images come to your mind? Where are you on your journey in persevering to see and relate to God as your heavenly father?
- Matt describes perseverance as, “to remain under pressure without being crushed”. In what situations are you experiencing this right now or in the past?
- Read 2 Cor. 4:1. In this verse “lose heart” refers to burnout. Burnout is when I rely on my own competence, my own plans, and my own image of perfection. Ponder this and see if there are areas in your life you are trying to self-manage, that you should relinquish to God.
- What would your life look like if you were to:
- Rely on God’s competence
- Live under God’s plan
- Celebrate my weaknesses (knowing that’s when God’s strength is made perfect in me)
- Burnout can take the following forms:
- Trying to do God’s job for him v.3 – Paul understood that only God can take the veil away from someone’s heart, only God could open up someone’s heart to the Gospel, and only God could change a person’s attitude, only God could change circumstances. What is your God guided role here?
- Overlooking Satan’s involvement in our lives v.4- Paul tells us that Satan is actively involved blinding the minds of the unbelievers to the good news of Christ. How can we be mindful of Satan and what actions keep him from messing with our life
- Promoting yourself v.5 – Some of you might be on the edge of burnout because you’re trying to be a star rather than a servant. Think about what reversing that looks like and write a prayer for that change.
- Focusing on doing rather than becoming v.6 – If we lose our focus on Christ in order to focus on something else, we have a duty-driven religion rather than a love-inspired relationship. Rank yourself on where you are in those extremes. God wants to be face to face with you how can you become His?
- What does pressure in life allow God to demonstrate in your life? (Verse 7)