Oswald Chambers says that “perseverance means more than endurance.”
A lot of us probably associate the two words – perseverance and endurance – maybe even interchanging them at times. But, if Oswald is correct, then perseverance and endurance do not mean the same thing.
What, then, does it mean to persevere?
The technical definition of endurance is “the fact or power of bearing pain or hardships; the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; lasting duration.”
Perseverance, while similar, has a slightly different meaning. To persevere means “to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.”
Perseverance sounds more noble, doesn’t it? A bit more aspirational, maybe?
We all have been called to persevere in times of difficulty, overwhelming sadness, trials, and personal struggles.
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 into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – Romans 5:1-5
To me, perseverance means to rise above your circumstances. Life may suck right now, but don’t let it suck you down into a pit of despair. Perseverance is more than endurance because endurance means to just get through it – to survive the tragedy, the grief, the struggle. And sometimes just getting through it is all we can do, but…we should strive to persevere. We should strive to do more than just get through it. We should remember that perseverance produces character, and character results in hope. And hope can carry us through the darkest of days.
To persevere means to have faith in the God who not only created the world – the God who created each one of us. It means to trust that God is in control, that He knows what is best for you, and that His love for you is greater than any love ever known.
Mary DeMuth recently stated that “in whatever endeavor God calls you to, perseverance is the hallmark of spiritual growth. Whatever is thrown your way gives you an opportunity to exercise your tenacity muscle.” If you are in the middle of a tough day – or week or year! – take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can do more than just get through this. God has a purpose for your day, your week, your year, and especially your life, AND He is working it out even in the midst of the difficulties that you are facing.
So, friends, go use your muscles and persevere today!