What Does the Bible Say About Persistence?

In the post How to… Be Persistent, we looked at the role persistence plays in obtaining victory in our lives. In today’s post, we’re discussing the basis for that persistence that is necessary for anyone to Be Victorious in this life. We’re going to look at the instructions Scriptures give us regarding persistence, including reasons to remain persistent as well as motivation for doing so.

  1. You develop persistence as you listen to and put into practice the teachings of those given the responsibility to “equip God’s people.” Ephesians 4:11-16 indicates that maturity and unity in faith develop as you listen to godly teachers. This maturity and unity provide a foundation for persistence that keeps you able to “hold to the truth in love” as you become more like Christ.
  2. Persistence develops as you “remain in” and “stay joined to” Jesus. Apart from Jesus, you will dry up and fail to bear fruit. Keeping connected to Him and His Word develops your confidence in Him to supply all your needs. (See John 15:4-8.)
  3. Praying “at all times and on every occasion” develops your ability to be persistent in all areas. Learning to make prayer a habit develops a consistent dependence on Christ. Consistency in this area provides the basis needed to be consistent in all other areas of life. (See Ephesians 6:18.)
  4. Making a plan and moving forward in that plan increases your ability to remain persistent. Even when you’re tired and weary, you set an example. Having a plan to follow takes away the emotion factor and allows you to move forward even when you feel weak and tired (Hebrews 12:12).
  5. Knowing your convictions before you need something to stand on keeps your ability to be persistent strong. When struggles come, your beliefs and convictions give the hope needed to stay faithful (2 Timothy 1:12). They make decisions ahead of time that would be clouded when emotions run rampant.
  6. Continuing to do good gives your persistence necessary focus. While doing good sometimes seems fruitless and selfishness seems to be the way to prosper, don’t not lose sight of the fact that God does bless those who do good (Galatians 6:9-10).

As I thought about persistence and how it exists in my life, I realized that it didn’t pop out of nowhere. Persistence seems to be an integral part of who I am, and I believe that is true for everyone. Unfortunately, we too often learn to ignore that part of our selves. We live in an instant-gratification society that has taught us we don’t need to be persistent to get what we desire.

But fortunately, He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). That means that persistence can rise up again as we realize that God encourages as well as gives motivation for being persistent. The rewards – the victories – are so great and well worth any wait!

DISCUSSION: What does knowing God’s view of persistence do for your desire to never give up?

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19 thoughts on “What Does the Bible Say About Persistence?

  1. Pingback: How to… Be Persistent | Struggle to Victory

  2. I thought this line was interesting, Kari: Persistence seems to be an integral part of who I am, and I believe that is true for everyone. Unfortunately, we too often learn to ignore that part of our selves.

    It was the I believe that is true for everyone part. At first I thought, I don't think that's true for me. Then I thought about it a bit and realized, it might have been true for me at one time (as a child) but I wonder if going to school for 12 years (before college) didn't drive it out of me? I was always at the top of my class growing up but I rarely had to work to get A's. Not only that, the teachers told me what to do and when to do it – for 12 years.

    I think this developed in me a habit of coasting in life and not taking charge of what I accomplished in life. So maybe I am persistent at heart and just have to rediscover it!

    • I just finished a book about creativity, and one section talked about how the standardized way of teaching in most public schools stifles kids' creativity and limits their thinking. It teaches a narrow approach to thinking, and I think this is what your point is showing. I am encouraging people to rediscover their creativity, and I believe this will bring back so many things God naturally built into our brains, things like persistence. Great take & discussion on the topic!

        • The book I just finished is called "Imagine: How Creativity Works" by Jonah Lehrer. Another good book on creativity is "Brainstorm: Unleashing Your Creative Self" by Don Hahn. Both were very good.

          • I was wondering if that was the book – I have it home from the library right now. I'll have to read it – and check out the one by Don Hahn. Thanks, Kari!

          • I found it fascinating, and it really helped me understand myself better as well as gave me ideas on how to help my kids learn and grow. The Don Hahn one has good information, but is a very different style. It has some humor in it and is also very interesting. Let me know what you think!

          • I wanted to let you know too that I will be doing a couple of posts the week of the 17th on creativity that are somewhat inspired by these books. I am giving a seminar on the 18th on creativity, which is one reason I read the books, and one reason I'm doing the posts. I'll look forward to hearing your input on them.

  3. An appropriate word today as I struggle through some life issues. Two big weekends with guests in our home and as guests in someone else's home have me tired and asking lots of questions. I'm definitely at a crossroads in my life where persistence is essential in moving forward.

    • Fatigue can play a huge role in our ability to be persistent. I am glad these scriptures were what you needed today. I pray that as you focus on The source of your ability to persist, you will be renewed and strengthened.

  4. Kari,, I posted this on my FB. It is easy to give up and forget that we serve a God who lives within us and is greater than anything the world throws at us. Thanks for sharing the scriptures to encourage my heart and guide my steps. You are a blessing!

  5. "We live in an instant-gratification society that has taught us we don’t need to be persistent to get what we desire." I think your statement here is so true. I think being persistent is fast becoming a lost art. I think the instant gratification model leads to people not having the will to be persistent. They do not get what they want right away and they become discontented, bitter, and question if God cares. I think the thought is if you do not get it right away look for it elsewhere or give up on it.

    I think a good understanding of God’s word helps us not get caught in the trap of instant gratification and prayer helps us put things in perspective. It is still tough to accept sometimes but having a plan of action and a planned response helps us to preserver when things do not go as we hope or move as quick as we like.

    It still is a difficult skill to learn and sometimes even more difficult to put into practice.

    • Persistence is definitely becoming a "lost art." Instant gratification is the way of our culture, and that saddens me. We are losing our will to be persistent, and so much of what is healthy and good for our growth and strength comes out of the long-term. Once again, the answer is more of Jesus. Understanding His Word truly gives us what we need to be counter-cultural in this and every area. My prayer is that I can be an example of this to my kids!

  6. I was think Kari that developing proper habits can do a lot towards helping one be persistent. For instance if I get up early each day to exercise and make it a habit to get up early then it helps me be persistent.

    • I agree Mark. Persistence really comes into question when we are tired or discouraged or hungry or emotional or overwhelmed or whatever. If we have established habits, we are more likely to stick to something when these things happen. Without such habits, we can easily give up when we begin to struggle for whatever reason.

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