Scripture contains numerous exhortations and words of encouragement for living the Christian life. There are sentiments about loving others, service, good works, resisting temptation and a host of other aspects of righteous living. When I consider this subject of “pressing on” in the faith, three words come to my mind: endurance, steadfastness and perseverance. These words are very similar in meaning, but to me each one carries a bit of a different idea about what it means to continue to follow Jesus. Maybe I’m “slicing these a bit too thin,” but here are my thoughts.
Endurance tells me there is something to be endured. The devil continually opposes us. Temptations are all over. Persecution is real. Troubles and hardships of all sorts proliferate. Our own sins trip us up. So we must endure all of these types of things. We will be hurt, we will be disappointed, we will be beat upon, we will be pummeled by the adversities of life - so we must endure the pain.
Steadfastness tells me that when any of these troubles are pounding on me, that I must not be moved. Like a tree bending in a gale but not breaking. Like a seawall holding up during the pounding of the waves. During such times, I will remain faithful to the Lord. I will hold to His word of truth. I will not blame Him nor rail against Him for my troubles. I will honor my covenants. I will not be moved.
Perseverance tells me that despite such adversities and troubles of life, I will continue to “fight the good fight of faith.” I will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus. I will continue to serve, to help, to worship and to tell the gospel story. I will be renewed day by day. I will not quit, but rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit and the example of my Lord to move me forward.
When adversity and temptation come our way, we must endure the affliction, be steadfast in our faith and continue to persevere in the fight. The Lord Jesus set this example for us. As His disciples we follow in His steps. He is faithful in helping us press on.