You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36 (NIV).
Joseph did the right thing when he ran away from the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife (cf. Genesis 39:1-23). Most of us think that when we do the right thing God should bless us. But it doesn’t always work that way. Bad things happen to good people. Obedience to God doesn’t negate tribulation. Joseph did the right thing and yet he was falsely accused and thrown into jail. He honoured God, but he wasn’t blessed. That’s the reality of living in a fallen world. Storms fall on saints and sinners alike (cf. Matthew 7:24-27).
You may know what I’m talking about. Like Joseph, you’ve done the right thing and got shafted for your efforts. And when that happens, when you do the right thing and get the wrong results, you’re going through the perseverance test.
Perseverance is overcoming difficulties. It’s facing pressure and trials and staying steadfast through them. According to the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, perseverance means “to hold out, to persist.”
Now you probably don’t want to hear this, but the perseverance test is usually the longest of all the tests we face through life. It can last for years. And you may have to go through it several times. In Joseph’s case he had to persevere for thirteen years. Imagine his situation. He got out of the pit for a brief respite before being thrown into prison. It must have been tough. God had given him a dream but it looked like God had forgotten all about him.
Do you feel like God’s forgotten about you? Don’t give up. Does it feel like your trials are going on forever? Fight the good fight. Are you struggling with doubt and hopelessness? Don’t throw in the towel. Keep your focus on God. “Trying times are not the time to stop trying” Anon. Keep on keeping on. You’re going through the perseverance test.
According to God’s Word there’s only one way to get perseverance. Romans 5:3 says, “We know that suffering produces perseverance” (NIV). That’s it in a nutshell. “Suffering produces perseverance.” You’ll only get perseverance by going through tribulation. Like it or not – that’s it!
But hang in there. It gets better. Romans 5:3-5 goes on to say that “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us” (NIV). There you have it. When you keep doing the right thing, even when you’re suffering, it ultimately leads to a hope that will not let you down.