Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Right now, we’ve been going through the chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 and seeing what we can learn about the subject of love. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at the topic of perseverance.
As I sat down to write this, I thought about the Calvinistic doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Now I’m not an expert on Calvinism I admit, but from what I gather, it is the idea that those who are saints will indeed persevere in their faith. Despite what circumstances come their way, if they are saved, they will endure to the end.
Whether that is true or not is irrelevant at this point. When we think about the doctrine, we think about it in the sense of salvation, but do we think about it in the sense of practical living. We know if we persevere to the end, then that shows that we are of the elect. However, perhaps we should take persevering to the end to also mean that we will be loving to the end.
Ever been angry at God? I mean really upset with Him? Now I fear we might have some types who see themselves as super holy and will say “Nope! Not me! I’ve always loved God intensely!” Well if that’s you, good for you. The rest of this then is written for myself and the rest of us mere ordinary Christians who have had anger with God.
What do you do? If you’re in ministry like myself, do you say “Forget you! I’m done with this!” and go off on your own way? Note I did not ask if you’re not tempted to do that. The temptation to walk away in ministry can be very tempting at times. The question is what do you do?
If you’re like me, chances are you find somehow, there is something within you that makes you want to serve Him anyway. It’s not because you really feel like it at the time, but because you know that you have a devotion to do so anyway and you’re going to whether you feel like it or not.
Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias in a talk of his tells about being in a classroom once in a Christian school, probably a Seminary, and hearing the professor say “Marriage is hard work.” He told his classmate sitting next to him that he didn’t like that and the classmate said “Yeah. I know what you mean. Why don’t you say something?”
So Ravi raised his hand and stood up and the professor said “Yes Zacharias?”
“I heard you say that marriage is hard work. I don’t appreciate that.”
“Are you married Zacharias?”
“Shut up. Sit down. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When Ravi got married, he realized his professor was right. Marriage is hard work.
Marriage is hard because it’s two people and let’s face it, we each tend to look out for #1, and your #1 gets in the way of my #1. The two people don’t always see eye to eye and yet have a commitment. Sometimes, they won’t feel like it. Sometimes, it’ll be hard. Sometimes, the other person will be someone you don’t want to be with at that moment, but you are to love anyway. I hear of guys who say their wives are driving them crazy.
For me personally, I try to look at myself first every time. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I am at fault every time, but why not start there? What can I do to better love my wife. It also means however that now or in the future, no matter what I am feeling, I am to love my wife. That is not a feeling. That is an action. It may or may not result in feelings, but it is to be done nonetheless.
And that love will persevere. If you are not persevering, perhaps you need to ask yourself if you are really loving. This does not mean that the love in marriage and the love of God will not get difficult. Do you persevere through something you enjoy? I do not sit down and say “I’ll have to persevere through watching all of these Smallville episodes.” You don’t endure through good books. You endure through bad ones. If we’re off to do something we enjoy we jokingly say “Well I guess I have to put myself through this suffering.” No. Perseverance comes through hard things.
Love goes through hard things. That’s love. The question is, “Do the benefits outweigh the costs?”
And in the case of ministry and marriage, I will say “Yes. Absolutely.”