By Rich Peterson, Church Relations
We need the goodness of God the most when we’re wounded, when we’re hurting, when things are falling apart, and we’re broken.
As I read through Hebrews 11 recently, I came across a list of unnamed heroes of faith. They lived in caves, were poorly clothed, thirsty and hungry, persecuted, and sawn in two. All they ever accomplished was to suffer and die. In our culture, the hero is the person who is a winner; the one who gets measurable results. But as followers of Jesus, we need to focus our faith not on results, but on God.
In his book In Pursuit of Maturity, J.O. Sanders writes,
“Faith does not exist apart from the object on which it is focused. It is akin to eyesight which does not exist apart from the object of vision. In looking at something, we do not see our eyesight, but we see the object on which our vision is focused.”
An important ingredient of perseverance through pain, hurt, and suffering is not how much faith I have; it is the focus of my faith. Hebrews 11:27 says of Moses, “He persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”
The Chinese have a remarkable symbol for perseverance. Their language is pictorial, and their characters represent pictures in their minds. The Chinese word picture for perseverance has two parts: a knife and a heart. To the Chinese, perseverance means, “to continue with a knife in your heart.”
What is the knife in your heart?
- Maybe it is that you don’t like yourself; you don’t accept the way you are, you wish you were somebody else.
- Or maybe you feel others don’t like you. Your parents have rejected you. You’re constantly criticized, judged, or ridiculed, or you must continue in a difficult situation or relationship.
- Maybe you have experienced relational, physical, emotional and/or spiritual suffering.
Whatever the case, it’s the knife in your heart.
How do we persevere? How do we continue with a knife in our heart?
The first thing we do is behold the character of God. This is what Moses did. He went through the fires of trial in Egypt and in the wilderness. He persevered because he saw Him who is invisible!
The second thing we do is consider God’s purpose in our suffering. The Bible promises that, when perseverance has finished its work, we will be mature and complete. Someone has written,
“God has not promised to make us comfortable, but He is determined to make us conformable to His Son, Jesus Christ.”
This is God’s ultimate purpose for our lives.
Lastly, in order to endure, we must focus on the glory of God. God sees things from an eternal perspective. He is developing our character primarily for Heaven, not for earth. When Jesus comes, our faith and character will be the praise, glory, and honor of Him at His appearing, and also to the praise, glory, and honor of our lives for all eternity. That’s the eternal perspective. We will never endure suffering on earth without it!
Copy and paste the link to this blog and share it on your social media with an answer to one or more questions (you can also comment below):
- What verses in the Bible strengthen you when facing the “knife” in your heart?
- Do you wish you were someone else? Why?
- Share a verse that encourages you and ask for prayer from your friends on social media to pray for you as you endure your “knife” in the heart moments.
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