Weary: physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain, etc.; fatigued; tired: weary eyes; a weary brain.
...is hope with "teeth"
There are very few things in life that depict perseverance more effectively than athletics. Whether it is on the ball diamond, track, wrestling mat, gridiron or the hardwood there is ample evidence of the reward for persevering. Often we as humans are so touched when we read in the papers about or see a TV segment on someone that has defied all odds and has succeeded when most would've throw in the towel.
When we take a look at perseverance we realize that it is synonymous with persistence. The definition for perseverance is a steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state.
The Greek word for perseverance is prokarteresis.
Prokarteresis literally means to "continue in".
Perseverance is different from endurance. Endurance often indicates “putting up with,” “bearing up under,” or merely “tolerating” a demanding and difficult circumstance. Enduring many times implies a passive quality.
Perseverance or prokarteresis represents more than just tolerating a circumstance because they have definite proactive characteristics. It means “to be earnest or strong toward; to be constantly diligent; to adhere closely to; to continue instant in; to be steadfast with a person or thing.”
Perseverance is about thriving; not just surviving.
For most, if not all, knowing the definition vs. applying the truth to our life experience is very different.
And for a special few it seems as if they were born to prevail and succeed.
One of those chosen few to demonstrate a great ability to persevere is Anthony Robles.
Anthony Robles: 2011 National Champion
For those who are not familiar with the story of Anthony Robles he was born with no limb below his right leg. Without a leg Robles was able to win two state high school titles before attending Arizona State. Robles success didn't end there, while at ASU he became a two-time All-American before his senior year and compiled a 36-0 record his senior year. To finish his career, Robles defeated last year's champion, Matt McDonough of Iowa, with a 7-1 victory becoming the 2011 National Champion in 125-pound weight class.
All on one leg.
Thrive over survive...
Perseverance is powerful. Perseverance is purifying.
In the final piece of a four part sermon series entitled "I Need a Hero" pastor Ken Murphy shared with us the importance and value of persevering. In the three weeks previous we have touched on the slowly disappearing virtues of honor, loyalty and gratitude. In each lesson we gained knowledge through God's word and inspiration and application through Pastor Ken's message.
(Art by Jamie Snell)
In God's word there are many verses concerning perseverance, but there are four that I would like to focus on.
The first verse is Galatians 6:9.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
As we review the verse we see that there are three parts to the verse.
- Don't become weary in doing good.
- We will reap a harvest is not a mere possibility, but a promise.
- "If" we don't give up... the choice is ours to stay in or give in.
When things are difficult it is easy to grow weary and want to give up. The Latin word for weary is lassitudo which literally means weariness, exhaustion and faintness. But it is when we stay the course and not give in we will reap a harvest in the end. The harvest doesn't mean things will always go our way in the end, but that we will have the opportunity for growth and maturity in the midst of a tough circumstance. The reward may vary, but the principle is the same each time; if you persevere you will ultimately win.
Perseverance in areas such as relationships, finances, psychical pursuits and spiritual concerns always pays off.
The only thing we need to do is take heed of God's command and focus on being faithful -to do the right thing- to him and God will take care of the harvest.
The second verse is James 1:12.
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."
Life is a test and life is temporary. And while we are taking this temporary test we will ultimately pass or fail based on the decisions (choices) we make and the relationships we cultivate.
Life is about growth and maturity and in earlier in the book of James, he talks about spiritual maturity and becoming a complete person as our earthly goal.
Remember, our earthly goal is maturity, but our eternal goal is the crown of life. When we stand the earthly test, and persevere, and choose God over all else we will then someday receive the crown of life.
Earthly goal: maturity.
Eternal goal: eternal salvation... the crown of life.
Perseverance is inherently linked to struggle and hardship. No matter what test or difficulty you're going through right now remember these two goals, if we do so we will gain a greater perspective and greater clarity that will aid us in persevering.
In the words of Coach Jimmy Valvano: "Don't give up, don't ever give up."
There is too much at stake to give up.
The third verse is Hebrews 12:1-3.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
As we read those verses we realize that we are not the first ones to run this race called life. Hebrews 11 is a book about Heroes of the Faith. Ordinary people who do extraordinary things in life due to their faith and perseverance.
There are three points that we must remember when we read this passage that will help us to persevere.
- Others have made it and you can too.
- Examples and symbols are important to our journey. When we look at those that have persevered before us it gives us hope we too will succeed. In a cancer radiation lab in California there is a bell outside of the radiation room. That bell is reserved for those that have completed their radiation to ring. It is a stark reminder that there were people there before you and that there will be people there after you. Ringing the bell is another step in the journey. Symbols and examples are powerful.
- A proper perspective helps one to persevere.
- Jesus was buried on Friday and he rose from the dead on Sunday. Perspective. When you feel like you're living in the dark pain of Friday, remember, Sunday is on the way. Perspective.
- You need a Savior & a friend.
- We need God and we need one another. God created us for fellowship. We were created to fellowship with God and one another. Life is simply about the decisions we make and the relationships we cultivate vertically and horizontally.
The fourth and final verse is 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
In the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona we were provided with an example of what finishing the race looks like and the simple fact that many times we need another person to help us across the finish line.
Redmond had trained eight years for this moment to run in the 400 meters race. Before the last Olympics he tore his Achilles tendon... this Olympics he tore his hamstring.
And though his Dad did not train for either race he was there to help his son finish the race.
Remember, sometimes we will never train for the race or actually run the race; we will only provide support and a helping hand to aid another across the finish line.
Sometimes we need help to...
Finish the race...
"...I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
FINISH THE RACE!