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he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  Matthew 24:13

Maybe it has something to do with getting older.  But, whatever the reason, I am coming to appreciate how important the simple trait of persistence is for the Christian life.  To live faithfully through all kinds of circumstances, good, bad and indifferent is a test of character which, perhaps more than anything, reveals the power of God’s grace in a person’s life.
Jesus warned that there would come a day when wickedness would increase and the love of most would grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matt. 24:12,13).
We all have seen it.  Some person starts on the Christian pilgrimage in a spectacular way.  They have an enthusiasm and energy which infects others.  They serve effectively in many ways.  But the days, weeks, months, years pass and one day it becomes clear that they have become an empty shell, void of any real life and in many cases may actually have fallen by the wayside.
As surely as this is true of individuals, it is also true of churches.  Many ministries which churches start with great enthusiasm and success simply seem to run out of steam when the glow and excitement wear off.
Pastors who come to a new church with ideas, enthusiasm, and dreams often find that to simply and persistently be faithful when the newness wears off is a lot tougher than moving on to another church.
We talk about the cost of following Jesus but equally important is persistence.  In fact, it much easier to pay the price “short-term” than to stay at the post year after year.
Now, this is no plea for “beating dead horses”, for failing to recognize the need for change, or accepting boredom and lifeless actions as “just the way it is.”  On the contrary, it is refusal to give in to that spirit, along with disciplined fellowship with God, which makes it possible to pass through the valleys.  It is to believe that God’s mercies are new every day; that it is possible to find personal renewal whatever the circumstances.
That is what enables you to be faithful, a church to be faithful, a pastor to be faithful–to “stand firm” ’til God says it’s the end.  So the end is not yet.  There is much to be done.

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