Give Up Or Persevere?

Series: Gravity. James Dewhurst February 23, 2020


Give Up or Persevere?

Today, in the second and final message of our Gravity series, I want to share a message that challenges us to make a choice – Give Up or Persevere?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote, “Great is the art of the beginning, but even greater is the art of ending.” The truth is, for all of us, somewhere between beginning and ending we’ve all felt like giving up. Discouragement, disillusionment and disappointment set in, and we feel like saying, “I quit!”

The great Thomas Edison once said – “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

So what do we do when we feel like giving up? In one word, God calls us to persevere! To persevere means “to persist in any purpose or endeavor; to continue striving for ones goals, despite difficulties. To stay on course.” The New Testament word translated in Greek for “perseverance” is Hupomone, and means both a passive endurance and active persistence!

(We are called to endure and actively pursue at the same time!)

Perseverance is the single greatest ingredient to our success in life!

Perseverance – In its simplest form is defined as the ability to finish what we’ve started.

The truth is, if you can’t finish things in life, you will never succeed!

Douglas McArthur – “Age wrinkles they body, but quitting wrinkles the soul.”

Estée Lauder – “I never dreamed of success. I worked for it.”

Babe Ruth – “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

Winston Churchill – “If your going through hell, keep going!”

Romans 5:3-5
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 13:7
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (ESV)

1 Timothy 4:16
16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (ESV)

James 1:12
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (ESV)

Perseverance outweighs our talents, our intelligence, and our difficult circumstances!

We conquer in life by continuing!

The biblical attribute of Perseverance shatters all boundaries in the human spirit:

> Cripple perseverance, and it will turn into the great playwright Sir Walter Scott!

> Imprison perseverance and you will get the writer of Pilgrims Progress, John Bunyan!

> Bury perseverance in the snow at Valley Forge, and you will get George Washington!

> Raise perseverance in poverty, and you will end up with an Abraham Lincoln!

> Strike perseverance with paralysis, and you will find a Franklin D. Roosevelt!

> Deafen perseverance, and you will hear the magical music of Beethoven!

> Oppress perseverance with racism, and you will get George Washington Carver!

> Call perseverance a slow learner, and the world will get an Albert Einstein!

Christians in China, when faced with communist persecution had a slogan: “Christians are like nails. The harder you hit us, the deeper we go.”

James 1:12
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (ESV)

Luke 21:19
19 By your endurance you will gain your lives. (ESV)

Ephesians 6:14-18
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (ESV)

Instead of standing firm and enduring, people often revert to blame and excuses!

Blame always leads to avoidance, which is the opposite of perseverance!

Luke 9:51-62
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village. 57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (ESV)

We see three behaviors modeled in Jesus’ life that teach us all how to persevere:

(1) Jesus was lead by his convictions, not by his emotions!

If anyone ever modeled perseverance, it was Jesus! His family questioned him. His disciples doubted him. The religious leaders accused him. The Jews rejected him, and the Roman soldiers persecuted him. Yet Jesus was relentless in his pursuit of the cross.

Jesus’ final words as he hung from the cross in John 19:30 were, “It is finished!”

(2) Jesus was proactive, not reactive in the face of difficulty!

Luke 9:51 “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”

Too many people react instead of act, and end up retreating from the challenge!

Perseverance is action!

Don’t wait for life to happen, go out there and make it happen!

(3) Jesus remained committed, regardless of the cost!

Jesus delivers a telling punchline in the last verse of the passage we read in: Luke 9:62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Three men walked up to Jesus in this passage and offered to follow him, but after Jesus explained the cost, all three offered reasons why they couldn’t.The demand was great!

All too often, our commitment is based upon the cost, not the cause!

Hebrews 12:1-2
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (ESV)

The book of Hebrews reminds us of 3 helpful things as we fight to persevere:

-You are not alone! Surround yourself with other believers who will inspire you!

-Get rid of clutter! Offload any sin or emotional baggage that’s weighing on you!

-Get on with it! Run, don’t walk! Pursue with rapid pace God’s calling on your life!

A Christian man dying from cancer said, “I may give out, but I will never give up!”

Ministry: Offer Salvation! Pray for anyone who needs to hold on and persevere!

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