Sunday, February 14, 2010

Persevere: Keep on Doing Good!

“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”

~2 Thessalonians 3:13 (TNIV).

There are many times in life when we must persevere. When the first thing that comes to mind often is to throw in the towel we could be forgiven for doing so, but for one thing. That’s to recall these words of Paul’s, and his frequent urgings of encouragement in his other letters.

This verse above is close to my favourite command in the Bible. It closely aligns with 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”).

These instructions remind us of our focus and where it needs to be, especially when the going gets tough—this is when our focus wavers most. As it was in Paul’s day, so it is also in ours; there are people around us who would distract us from our purpose for any number of reasons and in any number of ways.

Whether it is counterinfluence, opposition or discouragement—when times are low and hard and tough—we must learn to stick at it. That is to ‘persist in the state, enterprise or undertaking’ long past that point which the counterinfluence, opposition or discouragement would wear us down.[1] This is a very difficult thing to learn, but if we’re to ever find ways of truly transcending ourselves, this is a key.

The only way I know how to consistently achieve the aforementioned is to, ‘Consider it pure joy... whenever I face trials of many kinds,’ (Jas. 1:2) though I cannot say I achieve this all the time. On the contrary, I rarely achieve it, but it’s a Christian ideal worthy of practise unto perfection—if that were possible. It is very possible, however, to experience joy in our persevering.

And if we keep ourselves very simply focused, ‘eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith,’ (Heb. 12:2) we have a way. This is so simple we often stumble over it. It becomes a stumbling block for us. Still, it ought not to be.

Remaining morally and spiritually steadfast is not about stubbornness, but it is about keeping things simple and deciding on doing good no matter what.

But we’re to be really careful in this, for many people think they’re doing good but their relationships are messed up as a direct result. It is difficult to conjure two same thoughts aligning: doing right whilst upsetting people, unless that other person is wantonly making trouble. (The vast majority of people do not operate like this.)

Doing what is good is very usually meek and defensible. It is peaceable, sowing in peace and reaping a harvest of righteousness (Jas. 3:18).

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] Persevere (2010). Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 14 February 2010.

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