Perseverance.

Today’s post is written by our Brave Writer, Jazmyne Tamar Johnson 

Perseverance:

“Blessed is the [woman] who perseveres under trial, because when [she] has stood the test, [she] will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

-James 1:12 (*changes made so that I can’t justify that only men are supposed to endure this much!)

For the past two years, my life has been about perseverance and “making it through.” Every prayer “Lord, help me make it through this week.” “Lord, if you get me through this one, I promise I’ll never do this again!” Have you ever prayed, “Get me through this day. I don’t think I’ll be making it to see tomorrow. I’m tired and weary and there’s no point in enduring a life full of this”? I’ve been praying this prayer for months! Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed because I was so weary and overcome with grief that I felt that my life should just end right there because that was “it.” It wasn’t a threat of suicide. It was a threat of giving up. I didn’t want to try ANYTHING else. I didn’t want to cry, fight, hurt… Worse than this, I didn’t want to feel joy because I knew that there would come a time where my joy would be defeated with great pain.

As I write this now, I feel a sense of peace and comfort. I feel the Holy Spirit telling me, “Give it to me and you won’t be as weary.” The Lord never promises that we won’t feel pain, because that would make Him a liar and that’s not what He’s about. He does, however, promise us that we won’t suffer long and we won’t suffer “for nothing.” There is always something to gain in our surrender and suffering.

Endurence

Throughout the course of my life, I’ve always been told that I have the gift of perseverance. “Jazzy, you’re so strong!” “Jazzy, The Lord has blessed you with the gift of overcoming and perseverance!” “You’re a warrior for the Kingdom of God!” {They all sound nice and uplifting when you take things at face value} When I was younger and foolish with pride that I had a gift, I prayed for God to strengthen me so that I may be able to utilize this gift of perseverance that He had blessed me with. BAD IDEA! (not really) Let’s just say, He has DEFINITELY strengthened me and I’ve had many of obstacles, tests, and situations to persevere through! I’ve known suffering and heartache more than many of my peers and that is not to say that my life “couldn’t be worse”; I live a very blessed life! When you think about the word “perseverance” and what it means to persevere, you really can’t be considered one who perseveres if you don’t go through anything that takes endurance, right?

I mean, could you imagine someone proclaiming that they’ll persevere through paradise or an endless supply of lattes? Or how about someone persevering through a FREE vacation to somewhere wonderful? No, right? This is because perseverance, in itself, connotes that there is a struggle to be endured, a battle to be won, and a possibility that you won’t be able to make it through without battle scars.

I want to define some key words so that this verse can be applied in a more realistic light (Again, I LOVE defining words so bear with me, please?)

  1. Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success
  2. Steadfastness: loyalty in the face of trouble and difficulty
  3. Endurance: the fact or power of suffering through (an unpleasant or difficult process or situation patiently and without giving way (or quitting)
  4. Patient: able to accept or tolerate or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

(closes Webster)

So, what does this verse really say? Well, if you fill in the word persevere with these definitions, it’d read more along these lines:

“Blessed is the [woman] who [patiently and faithfully suffers through unpleasant and difficult processes], because when [she] has stood the test, [she] will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

Do not be discouraged, life is all about endurance! We live in a fallen world full of brokenness, so God’s promises (despite their conditions) are the light at the end of the tunnel! Blessed, by definition, means “to be made holy.” HALLELUJAH! It means that once we’ve endured and trusted in God in the midst of our trials, we will be made more like Him. This, in itself, is a blessing because God doesn’t worry and doesn’t fear anything. So, it’s like a bonus package of blessings!

Patience

So, how do we achieve God’s promise of holiness?

Well, we must first start by accepting the Word of God as Truth and obey His commandments. In our obedience to His commandments, we become humble and patient, knowing that the Lord does not and will not forget about His promises to us. Once we’ve accepted this Truth and have stopped trying to change our circumstances so that we endure less suffering for a shorter period of time (aka “control” God), we can, then, adopt our heavenly nature-one of the blessings in the package deal.

Today, I am proud (again) to say that I DO have the gift of perseverance. I know that God’s behavior is constant and unaffected by the trials that come against me. I know that God is not going to leave me empty-handed and confused on the battlefield with nothing but pain and suffering to gain from what I’ve endured. YOU HAVE THE GIFT OF ENDURANCE, TOO. The Lord equips ALL of us with His Word as a weapon against our enemies. {I do not suggest throwing the Bible or using it as an actual weapon against those you do not like} I mean the REAL enemies: hopelessness, insecurity, pride, anger, faithlessness, hatred, persecution, insufficiency, lies, and the like.

We’ve got the ultimate weapon against these! We’ve got The Lord, Himself, The Word, Experience, and Each Other (thank God that we all have to go through this at some point, otherwise it’d be a lot harder to deal with it)

God blesses us for making it through, for persevering (because He knows how much easier it is to get His children to do things when you offer them a present)

Do not be discouraged friends; you are not alone in this.

Peace and Love.<3

Jaz.

Jazmyne is zealous for seeing God’s love reflected in the lives of the broken-spirited and the oppressed. She aspires to use her writing as a means to communicate His love to the world. Her dream is to help raise a generation of Christ-like individuals who help to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. You can read more of her work on her blog: http://writtenbyjazmynetamar.com.

Photo Cred: Kathryn Denman via photopin cc

Photo Cred: a n a n d h a m via photopin cc

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