GC3’s journey of providing service to our churches and their mission partners has always demanded perseverance. In 2021 new mission fields have engaged workers even during these troubling times. Many of these mission partners are committing to difficult and sometimes hostile environments that require determined perseverance.
My arrival in D R Congo in 1982 was relatively easy as the mission had been operating for more than 96 years when we first arrived. However, the history of this mission in Congo tells the amazing story of the perseverance of pioneer missionary, Frederick Stanley Arnott. Fredrick, the first missionary to Congo, literally walked into Central Africa in 1886 to preach the gospel. This engagement was met by a hostile environment, brutal tribal regimes and a high death rate of early missionaries who followed. It took five years for Mr Arnott to see the first convert! What was this conviction that gave Frederick Arnott the perseverance to continue while retaining his belief and passion for the lost?
The Bible dictionary’s definition of ‘perseverance’ identifies God as the source of Christians’ perseverance. In the New Testament, the main sense of perseverance is evidenced where faith and hope are emphasized. Practically the biblical description is the idea of energetic resistance, steadfastness under pressure, and endurance in the face of trials. The motive for such behaviour is that it was done out of love for Jesus “for the sake of God’s Mission”.
Ironically, the key to perseverance is found in our ability to recognise our imperfection and propensity to get things horribly wrong when we try to do life without God. If my perseverance was to depend upon my good works, I would fail every time! God's grace and active engagement of His Holy Spirit in my heart, mind and conscience make all the difference. God's invitation to us is to allow Him to be the motivation for our perseverance.
Faith in God leads to peace with God. Inevitably this brings back our hope and restores our vision found in the promises that God has given us. Our key responsibility is our availability to choosing productive living of faith.
As you read the keywords in Romans 5 verse 1 to 8, allow God to renew your vision for the year ahead.
Romans 5 v 1 - 8 Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith and to his grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so but we also rejoice in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.
Did you grasp the provision God offers in the text? We do well to see perseverance is uniquely a God given provision for us - “Justified, faith, peace through our Lord”, “access to God and His grace” all result in “we now stand”! “Suffering” is turned to “perseverance”, character is matured, and hope is established. All this is wrapped in God’s love secured by the Holy Spirit that is given to us to empower perseverance.
What is our part in perseverance?
During 2022 you are invited to choose your journey of faith. Will it be a life of self-serving religious mediocrity? The choice is always ours.
In truth perseverance has two pathways. One will lead us to perseverance in our addictions, time wasting and selfishness. The result is the absence of God’s presence in your life. Biblical perseverance is equally a choice. A choice to listen to God, to obey and to step out in faith in service for the master. This choice requires commitment, sacrifice, and a yielded heart. Mission is realised by those who embrace God’s enabling for perseverance in the journey of faith and the rewards accompany us into eternity.