The principle of steadfast perseverance is repeated often and with emphasis throughout the New Testament. The early Jerusalem church was reported to have “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42.) Paul later exhorted the saints in Corinth by writing, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58.) This same peerless apostle, himself a dogged doer of good works, again encouraged the Galatian brethren by writing, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9.)
The Christian life is likened in scripture to a race to be run. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1.) A similar comparison may be seen in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
This race, the Christian race, is not a test of speed, but of endurance. The race begins at gospel obedience and is meant to continue until death, or even “unto death,” if need be. (Revelation 2:10.) Many begin the race with lofty ambitions and a blistering pace, only to quickly tire and retire at the first sign of adversity. Others run for some distance, but for one reason or another drop out before the race is run.
Blessed are those few who are steadfast, who run their Christian course to the end, who can say with Paul, “I have finished my course.” (2 Timothy 4:7.) May we learn to see, and live to see, the beauty of godly perseverance.