Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.
1 Tim. 6:11-12 NLT
The Christian life is a long distance race that requires absolute determination to finish and to finish well. Endurance is a “looking unto Jesus” through the up’s and down’s of life with the goal of pleasing his heart and being transformed into his likeness. The fruit of endurance is a deepening maturity and a depth of character that attracts lives to the gospel.
Perseverance is a willingness to stand in God’s chosen situation, or advance at his speed, so that, the full fruit of the Holy Spirit can be revealed. Believers must not bow to society’s pressures, succumb to false teaching, doubt God’s promises, or be angry at unexpected setbacks, but persevere into the knowledge and love of Christ. A heart that endures is a heart that trusts that God has an appointment in our disappointments “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12 NLT).
The believer is to persevere in his Christian course to the end of his life. We have known many who have gone into the field, and liked the work of a soldier for a battle or two, but soon have had enough, and come running home. There are so many professors and so few Christians indeed; so many that run and so few obtain; many go into the field against Satan, and so few come out conquerors . . . .
O how uncomely a sight is it to see, a bold sinner and a fearful saint, one resolved to be wicked, and a Christian wavering in his holy course; to see hell keep the field, while the saints hide their colours for shame. Take heart therefore, O ye saints, and be strong; your cause is good. God himself adopts your quarrel. He shall lead you on with courage, and bring you off with honour. He lived and died for you. For mercy and tenderness to his soldiers, there is none like him.
Christ poured out his blood as balm to heal your wounds. He never turned his head from danger: no, not even when hell’s malice and heaven’s justice appeared in the field against him. A few days’ conflict will be crowned with heaven’s glory. In a word, Christians, every exploit of faith causes a shout in heaven while you slip out of enemies’ hands.
William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, I:15-17, cited in Voices From the Past: Puritan Devotional Reading, ed., Richard Rushing (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 3.