Persevere. It’s not the word I wanted to see popping up over the last few weeks.
The first time the word jumped into my mind, I immediately brushed it away. That’s just me being stupid, I told myself.
There was no way that word was going to be my word for 2016 — the word that I believe embodies what God wants to do in my life this upcoming year.
Maybe I’ll go with fulfillment. Or peace — it sounds like a nice change for 2016. Maybe if I go with the word love, God will finally let me meet that special someone. (Yes, I did consider trying to manipulate God that way. Don’t pretend you haven’t done it, too).
As much as I tried to avoid it, deny it, and pretend I wasn’t catching on, that word — that loaded, excruciating word — would not go away.
It was like a cockroach. No matter how many times I tried to kill it, that word kept creeping back in.
It’s not that I have anything against the word itself. It’s a great word. A word I have preached on, counseled about, and encouraged people to do in their lives.
But persevere as my word for the year?
The word persevere conjures up some negative imagery. Every time I see that word, my mind immediately flashes to going through hell, getting the crap knocked out of me, pulling myself along the ground just trying to get out in one piece.
It’s not a very encouraging word.
And making that word my word for the year meant one thing: 2016 is going to be a hellish year.
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."
The word translated as persevere in the scripture above is translated from the Greek word hypomone, and means cheerful endurance, patient continuance, and an abiding under.
It’s not about just gritting your teeth and trying to get through a hellish circumstance in one piece.
Perseverance is the tool by which our character is perfected and God’s promises are released.Click To Tweet
It teaches us how to be content no matter the circumstances, to trust God in the midst of hardship, to abide in the storm so you can know the one who calms the storms, and it forces us to grow.
And it’s only when you persevere that you receive His promises.
In other words, you won’t receive His promises without some level of perseverance — some level of enduring the tests and trials cheerfully, patiently, and full of hope.
While I’m still not jumping up and down for joy over the fact that persevere is my word for 2016, one thing is true.
I’m looking forward to persevering through whatever 2016 will throw at me, so that I can receive even just a sliver of some of the promises God has made me.
(Image via David Goehring cc)