Lesson 10 The Christian Virtue of Perseverance
After an accident at work, Joe was told that he would never walk again. Yet in time he discovered that he could take a few steps if he leaned on two canes. Every day he would walk as far as he could, moving ever so slowly. Over time, his muscles were restored and he walked without any support.
Perseverance is often regarded as the quality required to reach a goal. When we work hard at something, we keep the expected reward in sight. Yet when we look at our spiritual lives, we know that our central goal-to be like Christ- is one we will never fully achieve in this life. We must continue to move forward, growing in knowledge of Christ and becoming more like him, in confidence that the day will come when we will be made complete in heaven. Paul gives us encouragement and inspiration to persevere in the most important part of life.
Webster’s Dictionary definition of perseverance is: to continue in some effort or course of action, in spite of difficulty, opposition, or obstacles. To be steadfast in purpose.
Reading: Philippians 3:7-16 (the purpose of this lesson is to inspire us to continue on in knowing Christ, looking toward the day we will be in heaven with him).
Questions/thoughts to consider:
- In what ways have you seen Christians become complacent or discouraged about their spiritual lives?
- Read Philippians 3:7-16. What words and phrases in this passage characterize us as people in process?
- What advantages has Paul lost (see vv. 4-6)? How does Paul’s loss help him to gain Christ (vv. 7-9)?
- How do verses 8-9 define rubbish?
- What things in your life could be considered “rubbish”?
- Note the things that we are to pursue in verses 10-11. How do these pursuits contrast with the rubbish in our lives?
- What is a person who is pursuing Christ like (vv.12,15)?
- Verse 13 tells us to forget what is behind and “strain toward what is ahead.” Why are both aspects of this instruction important? Which is more difficult for you?
- What has Christ done for you that you would like to “take hold of”?
- What does it mean to “live up to what we have already attained” (v.16)?
- In what area do you need encouragement to press on? How can you receive that encouragement?
Dear Lord, life is not always easy. I find myself stumbling. I know that you are always there for me, waiting for me to ask you for your help. My pride in taking care of myself gets in the way of accepting that help. But I want to persevere in my knowledge of you so that I can continue, through out my life, to become more like Jesus. I can find you in prayer, your Word, your sacraments of Baptism & the Lord’s Supper, and at church with my church family. I will allow myself to ask for, receive and be comforted by your loving reassurance and love. Thank you, Jesus, for all you have done and continue to do for me. Amen.