For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. – James 1:3
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
In the 1800s, several inventors worked on creating the light bulb. Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the first commercially practical incandescent light bulb. Edison was persistent and systematic. By slow, tedious trial and error, he determined that a cotton thread filament was able to produce over 13 continuous hours of light. Edison filed his first light bulb patent in 1879.
Edison stated, “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps. I know of over 3000 ways [that] a light bulb does not work.”
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone [prevail]” (Calvin Coolidge).
On May 3, 2011, Austin Bay wrote In Praise of American Persistence. “If your vision of America is shaped by the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, the building of the Panama Canal, the Battle of Belleau Wood, the Battle of Okinawa, the Manhattan Project, the Apollo program, the Internet, and similar endeavors, a nation of genius, courage, and persistence emerges – a nation to emulate, not injure and anger.”
In contemporary times, those who oppose America have significantly misjudged its persistence. Some labeled it a “weak horse,” lacking the necessary fortitude to persevere. Many believed the United States was “exhausted” and would eventually lose its status as a dominant global power.
What these detractors failed to recognize is that between 1947 and 1989, the United States effectively contained and ultimately triumphed over the U.S.S.R. This protracted, arduous, and seemingly endless international conflict saw America emerge victorious. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, marking the end of the Cold War.
“That took extraordinary persistence. It took resilient, adaptable, creative, and able American military and security services. Most of all, it took the basic, consistent support of the American people, the ones who go to work, pay the bills, wear the police and military uniforms, and, to paraphrase John Kennedy, will ‘bear any burden . . . to assure the survival and the success of liberty’” (Austin Bay).
REFLECT & PRAY
“Energy and persistence conquer all things” (Benjamin Franklin).
Proverbs 12:27 The precious possession of a man is diligence.
Father encourage me and strengthen me to respond appropriately to the trials and afflictions I experience. Develop in me the precious possession of persistence.
James 1:3 The testing of your faith produces endurance.
The Greek word translated as endurance or steadfastness is hupomone. Hupomone is the ability to withstand hardship or stress. It is the quality of persistence or fortitude. It can be translated as perseverance, patience, endurance, fortitude, or long-suffering. It is the quality of character that does not surrender to circumstances or difficulties.
Persistence can be likened to a muscle that requires exercise to become stronger. It has to be exercised to grow and become stronger. The Father has deemed it necessary to utilize various forms of testing, adversity, heartache, and other difficult circumstances to build and enhance our endurance. Through these trials, we can develop and strengthen our ability to persevere.
It gives an entirely new perspective, a paradigm shift regarding the afflictions and trials, the vicissitudes of life. The children of the King can find joy in their current struggles, not because these difficulties are enjoyable, but because they can result in a gradual transformation that aligns us more closely with the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV notes). Viewed from the Father’s perspective, these challenges are designed to cultivate our character and bring us closer to embodying the qualities of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But Hupomone is more than merely patiently enduring our circumstances. It actively vanquishes them. “It is the spirit which meets things head-on and overcomes them” (Barclay). .
“When Beethoven was threatened with deafness, that most terrible of troubles for a musician, he said: ‘I will take life by the throat.’ That is hupomone. When Sir Walter Scott was involved in ruin because of the bankruptcy of his publishers, he said: ‘No man will say “Poor fellow!” to me; my own right hand will pay the debt.’ That is hupomone” (Barclay).
All children of the King have within themselves the ability to not only “exult ‘in the midst of’ afflictions but that we are to exult ‘in’ the afflictions themselves: that is, to view them as a basis for further confidence in our redeemed status” (Moo). We develop the attitude of welcoming and rejoicing in our afflictions. We will become more like the Lord Jesus Christ as our persistence grows.
“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence” (Colin Powell).
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill).
© Dr. H 2023