Today's verse has Jesus Himself describing exactly where He wants us to be. Do you have a noble heart? If so, He has already begun the work of preparing your "heart soil"; in fact, the work is already well underway. Do you have a good heart? If so, you have God to thank for that too. Remember in Scripture when Jesus said, "only God is good"? If your heart is good, that means He resides in your heart, in the form and presence of The Holy Spirit. By virtue of this study (and hopefully also a commitment to daily prayer, Scripture reading, and fellowship) you are hearing The Word AND retaining The Word. Only one thing left...PERSEVERE.
The dictionary definition of "persevere" reads thus: "to PERSIST in a state, enterprise, or undertaking IN SPITE OF counter-influence, opposition, or discouragement." By linking "hearing/retaining The Word" and "persevering", Jesus is telling us that we will need to be prepared - and ready - to do some hard work. He is tipping us off that we will face opposition as we try to produce a crop for Him.
Against what and whom will we need to persevere? Call it what you want...the world...a failing society...moral decline...a broken system. But He has a name (which I will not even honor him by printing), and he is very real. The devil (confession: I am a grammar freak, but it's not capitalized on purpose!) is likened in Scripture to a lion prowling around, looking for souls to devour. Look at it like this: he is the captain of a ship, the S.S. DOOMED, which he knows with certainty is fated to go down...and he would like nothing more than to have YOU chained below decks with him when it goes down for good. He is filling that ship with souls right now, like it's his job.
Don't think of buying that ticket, guys. Not even for an instant. The promise of a pleasure cruise is powerful, almost aphrodisiacal. But the end is guaranteed... and eternally awful.
Persevere. When I sit back and think of all Jesus did for me, all He suffered, all He gave... I am ashamed at the notion that perseverance could be hard work, troublesome, inconvenient. I am humbled, reduced, rendered speechless. He gave His very life for me... and all He asks is that I persevere?
I will persevere. Will you join me?
Your Brothers in Christ,
We are here for you. If any of you has questions or needs to talk with one of us in the weeks ahead, please contact us.
If there is anyone you know who would like to receive this email please email us.