It’s one thing to possess faith, virtue, knowledge, and self-control intermittently, it’s quite another to possess these things as well as all the others Peter outlines continually. Not only are we to have faith and virtue and knowledge and self-control, we are to likewise have perseverance. Perseverance in and of itself is not a virtue because one can persevere in evil things just as they can persevere in righteous ones.
Perseverance acquires its nobility due to the thing the individual is persevering in.
If I persevere in self-control, if I persevere in knowledge, or virtue, or faith, then it is because of those things I am persevering in that my perseverance is a good thing.
We don’t persevere just for the sake of persevering. We choose, and wisely so, those things we persevere in so that our spiritual man might be that much stronger and that much more mature due to our perseverance.
Perseverance can be defined in one of two ways. First, perseverance can be defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success, and second, as a continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.
It is in whether or not we persevere that oftentimes determines our success or failure in any given endeavor.
Being on the huskier side ever since I was a wee lad, I’ve started my fair share of diets. Seeing as I did not persevere in the diets I started, well, I’m still a bit on the huskier side. If I had persevered, if I’d stuck to it and with dogged tenacity somehow talked myself into believing that alfalfa sprouts and asparagus tasted like chocolate cake, then I would have succeeded in the attempt at a smaller version of myself.
When we persevere in virtue, when we persevere in knowledge, and self-control, we do so even when we don’t really want to, or when it becomes very difficult for us to do so. It’s when something is difficult that the notion of perseverance comes to bear all the more.
If there is continuity in our virtues and in our exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit, then we are persevering in them.
As with every virtue Peter admonishes us to possess, perseverance has its place as well as its benefits for us as believers.
Romans 5:3-4, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
It is perseverance that produces character in us as followers of Christ, and it is the character that is produced in us – the character of Christ – that gives way to hope. A hope which does not disappoint, because throughout this magnificent journey of growth and maturity we have come to know the vastness of God’s love for us, and as such rest in the knowledge that He will see us through our desert, He will see us through our valley, He will see us through our heartache, He will see us through our pain, He will see us through our loss, and carry us into the land of promise on that great and glorious day.
Those who have never persevered and as such never developed their Christ like character can never know the fullness of the hope that animates and drives those who have. We can speak of it to others, exhibit it and manifest it, but to them it will always be something alien, something strange, something slightly offbeat, because they themselves have never gone through the requisite stages of maturity wherein they come to this blessed place of inexhaustible hope even in the face of indescribable loss.
Why do those who have gone through tribulation, through suffering, through hardships and persecutions seem to have a stronger faith than those who have not? Those who have endured not only seem to have a stronger faith but in fact do have a stronger faith because in their tribulations and hardships they persevered, and this perseverance produced a character commensurate with God’s guidelines.
In our modern age we have learned to look upon tribulation and persecution in a disparaging fashion, to reject them wholly and do everything in our power to avoid them rather than persevere through them, not realizing that even in tribulation there is good, even in hardship there is growth, and even in persecution the will of God for our lives is being made manifest in great and wondrous ways.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.