But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. – 2 Peter 1:5-7
Every person who confesses faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will come to some huge moment in their life where they will have to choose to continue with God, or turn away from Him altogether. If you choose to continue on with Him, you will have graduated from self-control, to perseverance.
In John 6:66 the Bible says, “from that time many of his disciples went back and followed him no more.” Thousands were following Jesus because He had just performed the miracle of feeding them all. Jesus let them know quickly that He was way more interested in them loving Him as opposed to loving what He could do for them. They didn’t like that very much, so they walked away from Him. Herein lies the problem with an overwhelming majority of American Christians.
I remember being in my late 20’s and arriving at this point. I had professed faith at 16 years old, added virtue at 21 while really starting to devour the Bible and gain knowledge. I had begun to put this knowledge into practice and develop self-control and say no to a lot of old friends and old ways. Then, it seemed all of a sudden I had the greatest temptation to go back to my old life. All I could see was the “fun” my old friends were having. All I could do was wonder if the entire Christian thing I had been doing up until that point had been a rip-off. I did not have the luxury of hindsight like I do now. I had no idea that my greatest blessings were just beyond this wall of perseverance that I was now being tested with.
I would be faced with the same question the original twelve disciples was faced with after watching all those thousands of people follow Jesus no more: “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67) Their answer was my answer, “To who else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
It really was that simple for me. I could quit and live for the very, very temporary and fleeting pleasures of this life, or I could persevere and live for something eternal. I chose and still choose Him. He has blessed me since that day far beyond measure. I could almost cry at the very thought that I almost left the only one who loves me so purely and completely.
If you haven’t experienced it yet, it is coming. Some prayer won’t get answered like you think it should. Some “minister” or other person who claims to be a Christian will say something that offends you greatly or hurts you immensely. Something will happen and you will be so mad at God because He did not do what you thought He would do. He will take something of yours that was “off limits” and you will be disappointed with Him. Up until this moment, you have built on your faith and you have worked so hard in learning about Him and learning to do right and controlling yourself. But, the next step remains: Will you keep on keeping on? Will you persevere?
I read somewhere that the majority of the “Biggest Losers” gain the majority of their weight back. They made a commitment to lose the weight, they learned about training and nutrition, and then even developed the self-control it took to execute the program properly. But, real life got really difficult and they eventually quit living and abiding by those principles that they learned and went back to their former state.
Will you do the same in your walk with God?
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him:” – Job 13:15