What Faith Requires: Persist

Introduction

Faith is not a one-time experience – it is a life-long journey. All of us have a Faith Story – the journey of faith in our own lives is a part of our unique experience. One thing we all know – The life of Faith is not easy. Through the questions, doubts, disappointments, and brokenness in our own lives we seek to continue on the journey of faith. Faith requires persistence. We persist in the strength and presence of Christ. We persist through the trials and struggles. We persist because our experience does not diminish our faith. 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

No one has ever lived out that journey like Jesus. Even though Jesus was the Son of God, perfect and holy, we know that he endured much pain and sorrow in his quest to save us from our sin. Mark 6 tells us of a time in Jesus’ life when he had to persist through some really personal struggles in order to live the life of faith.  If Jesus had to face challenges – we can be strengthened in our own challenges. 

He left there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. “Where did this man get these things?” they said. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him, and how are these miracles performed by his hands? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they were offended by him. 4Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.” 5 He was not able to do a miracle there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. He was going around the villages teaching.

Mark 6:1-6

JESUS: An Example of Persistent Faith

Jesus is in his hometown – the people who should have been his  biggest supporters.  They are amazed – but not in a faith-filled way. They had heard about the many miracles he was doing and were hearing his teaching. Instead of being filled with faith they were offended.  They watched him grow up, knew his family, he was just an ordinary man to them. This had an impact on Jesus. He did not do many miracles there – only a few. “He was amazed at their unbelief.” He left his hometown of Nazareth and to our knowledge never returned home. Jesus was rejected and ridiculed in his home town, but he had a greater mission and did not let that take him down. How can we have the kind of faith that persists in spite of challenges – even really personal struggles?  Here are some things to remember when our faith is under fire

POWER TO PERSIST WHEN FAITH FEELS WEAK

Never Give Up.

Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.

Galatians 6:9   

Charles Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Philippians 3:14 NLT

Always determine to “press on” to reach the promises of God. Faith calls us to persist – Never Give Up!

Remember the Outcome

Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:8-9

Faith finds it’s roots in loving Jesus, believing in Jesus, Rejoicing  in Jesus.  The goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls. Without that promise we have nothing.  When our faith is running low, we should focus on the goal – and thank God for His assurance. 

Prepare For Turbulence.

We experience turbulence in our faith – like a flight through storm. Faith starts small, grows, ebbs, flows – but God is constant! We have to know this going in! We prepare ahead of time by growing our spiritual life daily.

“The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until  the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because  they have gained their victory on their knees long before the  battle came. Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory. – R.A. Torrey

 Mark 9:24   A father who needed Jesus to heal his son exclaimed:  “I do believe; help my unbelief!” This will be our cry very often – as we hang on to Jesus through the turbulent times in life. 

Faith Defeats Schemes of Satan!

In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Ephesians 6:16

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.

1 Corinthians 15:16

We are alert to the work of Satan in our lives.We stand firm in faith – never giving up our trust in Jesus. We are courageous – when fear calls us to give up.. We are strong in Jesus, not in our own strength. 

Fight for your faith

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12

It is a “good fight”. We are living in an imperfect and broken world. We live among an imperfect and broken people. We are imperfect and broken ourselves! Remember your confession: Jesus is Lord!

Turn to the Scriptures

You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

2 Timothy 3:15-16 NLT

We cannot starve our souls and be full of strong faith. 

You’re Not Alone: Jesus Knows

“I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.”

Revelation 2:19 NLT

We never walk alone in this journey of faith – He always knows he sees every tear – he is aware of every battle – and He never  leaves us alone. 

Your Faith Energizes the Faith of Others

We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:3

Conclusion

Jesus faced significant challenges to his faith – but he gave us the perfect example of continuing the journey of faith no matter what. Jesus is the source of faith and it is to Him that we give our lives.  When we feel our faith growing weak and being challenged maintain a persistent faith:

Never give Up! 

Remember the Outcome! 

Prepare for Turbulence! 

Defeat Schemes of Satan! 

Fight for Your Faith!

Turn to the Scriptures!

You’re not alone: Jesus Knows

Your faith energizes others

Our faith is all about Jesus – put your faith in him today.

for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ

Galatians 3:26-27