Sun Am 28 July 2019 – Johan Esterhuizen
Gal. 6:9; 2 Pet. 1:5-8; John 16:33; Neh. 2:12-17; 1 Cor. 16:9; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23; (Num. 13 &14); Gal. 6:7-10; (Gen. 1:28); (Gen. 9:7); Gen. 8:22; 2 Cor. 9:6-8; 1 Cor. 6:9-10
For a few weeks, the Lord has been speaking to me about perseverance. This is a long haul; it is not a sprint. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9). In reading the Word I found that perseverance is linked to the harvest, and to the understanding of sowing and reaping. The Scripture says, “Let us not get weary in doing good”. Giving is more than just giving money. It is the giving of ourselves. If we do not give up, we will reap a harvest. We live in very challenging times to say the least, we can rise to the challenge or we can give up in despair. Let us persevere.
Perseverance is the theme that appears throughout the Scriptures. 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…. (2 Pet. 1:5-8). Faith is a given. God has dealt to each man a measure of faith but we have to grow and develop that faith by diligently adding these seven qualities. Perseverance means determination, grit, insistence, resolution, stubbornness, diligence, resolve, drive, purpose, tenacity, dedication, obstinacy, tirelessness, steadfastness, urgency, firmness in pursuing. Perseverance is vital to the growing of your faith. God wants each of his people to learn to persevere no matter what happens, we have to learn to be overcomers, we have to learn to carry on regardless, we have to stand firm, and we have to learn not to give up (John 16:33). We can learn to emulate the victory He brought on the cross for us.
When the burden was laid on Nehemiah’s heart to unite the people to build the walls of Jerusalem, it seemed to be an impossible task. Politically, financially, they were prisoners (Neh. 2:12-17). Nehemiah was attacked and criticised but they had to persevere. They went ahead to build. If you have a dream or a goal and it is so easy to achieve, you can bet it is your dream and your goal. But if God calls you and gives you a dream and a goal and it is impossible to achieve, you can bet it is of God.
When God spoke to Nehemiah, he sought the Lord for three months and God gave him a plan. When you read to book of Nehemiah, there are two principle characters: Ezra the Priest and Nehemiah the businessman. Together God used the sacred and the secular to build and re-establish the nation as God’s people. I believe in these days we are going to see the Church become more relevant. It is out there that our ministry takes place. We face some tremendous challenges but God has a plan and a purpose. The overriding practical lesson from the book of Nehemiah is that God’s work demands patience and endurance, perseverance. It highlights the principle, For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries (1 Cor. 16:9). When there is an open door, there is much adversity. There is no winning without warring. There is no opportunity without opposition. There is no triumph without trouble, no victory without vigilance. There is a cross on the way to every crown. It is a challenge but we are more than conquerors in Jesus-Christ.
There will always be those who will ridicule. Many people have never reached their life’s purpose because parent, schoolteachers or friends have put them down and ridiculed them. Turn your back on that! There will always be dream breakers. You are not defeated when you lose; you are only defeated when you give up. Perseverance is more than just a resolution. How to we persevere? How does change come about? Change starts with our thinking (Rom. 12:2). And be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Eph. 4:23).
In Numbers 13 &14 is the story of the twelve spies. Ten came back and reported that they were grasshoppers and could not take the land. Joshua and Caleb came back with a bunch of grapes to show what God had given them. If you change your belief, you change your attitude. If you change your attitude, you change your expectations. When you change your expectations, you change your performance, when you change your performance you change your life.
I said earlier that being a person of persistence is linked to the harvest; to sowing and reaping (Gal. 6:7-10). We have to persevere.
When God created Adam and Eve, He put them in the garden and commanded them to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth (Gen 1:28). According to the tradition of the Rabbi’s, it is like God was saying that Eden was the genetic pool. This is where the perfect environment was, I want you to multiply and replenish the earth with what is here. God gave the same commandment to Noah (Gen. 9:7). When God gave the key of abundance and multiplication to Noah, He said these words While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest…shall not cease (Gen. 8:22). We have to look at life as though we are sowing as farmers. The principle of sowing and reaping touches every area of our lives. It is the centre of God’s system, it links you to God’s plan; it binds you with the Source of life, God Himself (2 Cor. 9:6-8). The key to having all sufficiency and abounding in every good work is to be a sower. There is to be synergism in life when we work hard and give. God multiplies back to us. When we work with God our talents and abilities are increased. This sowing, reaping and giving with joy is a theme throughout the Bible. The problem with sowing is that we think we are depleting our resources. We have to look at sowing as increase. There is more to giving than money, it is the giving of ourselves. Every time you love, you plant a seed of love. Every time you give a word of encouragement, you sow; every time you pray for someone, every time you have a good thought about someone, you plant a seed.
We have to imitate Christ. We have to love first, we have to give first, we have to apologise first, forgive first; we have to go the second mile first. The one who sows with perseverance is the one who will have a harvest.
If you are discouraged today and things have not been going so well. Look at your life and say: it is time to persevere. Let me do the possible God will do the impossible. Let us be people of perseverance!