“. . . eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Romans 2:7).
PATIENT ENDURANCE IS AN UNDERRATED VIRTUE. Qualities like love, courage, and wisdom get most of the attention, but the simple willingness to keep on moving ahead is no less grand. And continuance — that plain, workmanlike ability to keep at our task — happens to be in short supply in these days of frantic change and constant uncertainty. But if we intend to seek God seriously, we must not forget how to hold a steady course. It may not seem like a very great accomplishment just to “continue,” but how many of us can say we’ve excelled in this area? Those who do this one thing well may turn out to be greater heroes than the rest of us, and in the end, the brightest crowns may rest on the heads of those who simply refused to give up.
Numerous scriptural texts urge those who are Christians to continue patiently in the faith. Paul wrote, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:22). He spoke of those who would be presented holy and blameless to God “. . . if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard” (Colossians 1:23). The writer of Hebrews said that Christians are the “house” of Christ “. . . if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:6). And again, “We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:14).
Such texts could be multiplied many times over, and we should not fail to be impressed with this consistent emphasis in God’s word. He is on our side. He is the truest Friend we’ve ever had. But God deals in long-term solutions, not in quick fixes. His purpose is not to relieve the superficial symptoms of sin but to eradicate the very root of evil. When the time is exactly right, this purpose will be gloriously consummated and those who have obediently entrusted themselves to Him will share in His triumph. Until then, the message to His people is always this: continue!
“Never think that God’s delays are God’s denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius” (Comte Georges de Buffon).