Jude 1:17-21 (Berean Study Bible)
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
What does it mean to persevere? Is it to be patient? To sit quietly? Another word for ‘endure?’ Or does it mean something more divine?
Perseverance is a word associated with many things in the Old Testament. In the Bible, the words ‘perseverance’ and ‘wait’ are intrinsically linked at the hip. As you might imagine, the Hebrew word for ‘wait’ takes on many connotations. Unlike the English form of the word, ‘wait’ means to hang on, hold on, await, expect, look forward to, and interestingly, hope. In our modern world, we could define this thought pattern as a sense of perseverance, or the sacred act of waiting well.
Perseverance means so much more than simply ‘waiting’ for Christ’s return. The book of Jude provides one of the best examples of this, saying: “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” It is not just an endurance against strenuous things, but to actively abide in God throughout all things.
The book of Jude has sometimes been called the penultimate book of the Bible. Referring to both Old Testament law and New Testament prophecy, the book draws a strong conclusion about the way believers are to live their lives: “by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” To keep ourselves in God’s love, and to wait on His mercy of eternal life, is the patent definition of perseverance. In other words, the art of waiting well.
What does perseverance, or waiting well, really look like in our fallen world?
Allowing faith to sustain us in face of the impossible. Going through hard times or situations you feel you cannot bear? Persevere through them all by waiting well on the Lord and His teachings.
Remaining always ‘awake’ and on-call. Just like the 5 wise bridesmaids in Matthew 25, let us always stay alert and vigilant, fighting against the temptations of the flesh.
Bearing fruit despite the trials and distractions of a fallen world. Our faith will produce much good fruit, most of which we could never have achieved alone. Despite distraction, we can learn to persevere to success!
Encouraging others to run their race well. We are persevering through the same earthly valley, and are surrounded by those who may need help getting out of the mud or unstuck from the ditch. Do not hesitate to minister to those around you!
Friends, God is calling us to persevere even in this very moment. The trials, tribulations, and struggles of this world are not only obstacles to our faith, but clear indications of our commandment to wait well. This week, make it your mission to wait well on the commandments of the Lord, and to follow His divine call to persevere through all things.
How can you edify your soul and body for perseverance in the Faith? Are there prayers, rituals, or people in your life who you trust to help? In what ways can you minister to the believers around you who may need some encouragement? There is so much perseverance to look forward to, friends. Let us run the race well!
1 John 5:18 (New English Standard Version)
18 We know that anyone born of God does not keep on sinning; the One who was born of God protects him, and the evil one cannot touch him.
Jude 1:24 (Berean Study Bible)
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.