You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. (Heb. 10:36, NIV)
Welcome to the third and final part of this series on fulfilling your purpose! If you have not read the first two posts in this series, you can read them here: The Big Picture & Follow the Leader. Fulfilling purpose is a journey, one that lasts a lifetime. And my prayer is that you, my dear reader, will not be cut short amid your days. Rather, you will live long enough to complete the work the Lord has committed to you and fulfill His purpose for your life. But if you must fulfill your purpose, then you must learn to persevere – that is, to patiently endure every trial or challenge and ensure you do what God desires of you.
The verse of Scripture quoted above makes it clear that perseverance is a character trait required to do God’s will. This is because doing God’s will is not always the easiest thing. In fact, it is sometimes the toughest thing. We may encounter human opposition or be exposed to bodily harm. We may face difficult emotional experiences and spiritual opposition by demonic spirits, leading to discouragement, despair, or depression. We may face loneliness or hunger because of the choice to do God’s will. We may even be derided by our own brothers for choosing the path of obedience to God.
Yet through it all, the Holy Spirit empowers us to do God’s will. God gave us His Spirit to dwell in us as His children and poured out His Spirit on us to empower us for service. But the empowerment of the Spirit will go to waste if we do not persevere on the path of purpose. It is “they that wait upon the Lord” that renew their strength. Divine empowerment becomes even more potent in the face of adversity. God’s strength is revealed in us as external challenges expose our weaknesses. No wonder Paul boasted about his weaknesses – they were an opportunity to reveal the power of Christ in him (2 Cor. 12:9).
A key enabler to pursuing purpose against all odds is keeping your eyes on the prize. That is the example we see in Jesus. Despite the shame and pain ahead of Him, He chose the cross because He kept His eyes on the joy of reuniting with His father as a beloved Son and faithful Servant. It was the promise of the prize that kept Him through the torture of the cross. There was a joy He looked forward to – same joy we must set our hearts upon – that gave Him strength to endure the cross and look down on the shame of His experience. Shame lost its power over him; Joy was stronger! (Heb. 12:2)
Most of us often start with confidence in the Lord and the purpose to which He has called us. But trials, temptations, persecution, the allure of worldly riches and recognition, and so many other things, water down the persuasion of many. We stand at risk of becoming cold. So, the writer of Hebrews addresses us in verse 35 of Hebrews 10: “Do not throw away your confidence”, reminding us that it will be richly rewarded. Then he proceeds to speak about the necessity of perseverance so we can do God’s will and receive what has been promised.
Dear friend, do not be distressed or discouraged. Your confidence in the Lord will be richly rewarded. So do not throw it away. Instead, choose to endure whatever the enemy throws your way and stay committed to doing God’s will over your lifetime. Keep your eyes on the real prize – the joy of standing in the Father’s presence to receive commendation for a good race run and the crown of righteousness promised to those who look forward to His coming. Everything that distracts in this world is passing away. Only the unseen, spiritual things of which we speak will last forever. Stay committed!