Most mornings I exercise on a path near my home and get to practice how to persevere when you feel like giving up!
Occasionally, as I head out the door, a neighbor waves and says, “headed for a run, good for you!”
It feels good to think people see me as a runner. I think runners look fit, accomplished, and cool. There is just one problem. I am not even close to being a runner. I am a walker, a slow, methodical walker.
I have learned how to persevere and stay focused on my exercise goals, but I don’t run, ever!
As people pass me on the path, some younger and some older, I often wonder why am I so slow. I can feel myself inching toward discouragement which threatens my energy and persevering attitude.
“Lap 4”, my neighbor proudly announces as she whizzes by holding up four proud fingers. Four, I am still on one! It is easy to start slipping into competitive mode and think I am in a race and losing.
But I remind myself, slow and steady is better than nothing at all. Don’t give up; just keep walking.
Learning how to persevere is an important state of mind in life and in our faith.
What is Perseverance
Perseverance is the steady persistence in a course of action or purpose, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
Another phrase I like is ‘staying the course’ which originated in relation to horse racing at the turn of the 20th century.
The definition of what is perseverance is, “To persevere with as much determination, energy, or fortitude as one can until the end of a race, competition, or contest.”
The definition and origin of these terms trigger thoughts of racing and winning; a competition instead of steady persistence.
Sometimes it feels like everything is a competition even our faith. Comparison is a quick route to an exhausted spirit.
I often wonder, is learning how to persevere with steady persistence enough? Or do we want to win? and do any of us really win or do we strive and exhaust ourselves?
How to Persevere without Competition
Keeping up with other people can become a huge distraction. When you focus on competing instead of reaching your own goals, you can lose your way and get off course.
I have been in exercise classes where we are told to modify the routine to our own ability. But I can’t help feeling like a slacker next to the person who is jumping around smiling in full cuteness.
I also tend to feel better about myself if someone else in the class looks less enthusiastic or coordinated than I do (which is not often!).
How about with our kids? Can we learn how to persevere without competition?
I ran into a friend recently and she began telling me her son was doing phenomenal! He was going to medical school to become a surgeon, had straight A’s, an amazing girlfriend, was on the student ministry leadership team, and traveled to save children in an impoverished country. (I’m exaggerating a little but not much!)
In these situations, I imagine there are winners and losers. I walk in feeling adequate but leave feeling defeated. That is competing not persevering.
I used to be super competitive but have mellowed some, not complacent, just more content and at peace with what I am supposed to be doing.
When I am tempted to feel defeated as I go around the track, I am learning how to persevere without competition by turning my focus on the race I am running and not anyone else’s.
“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time.
Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life to God is vigorous and requires total attention.”
Matthew 7:13-14 MSG
How do You Persevere in Faith
Some of you may be reading this thinking, but I do win a lot. I am a runner and have won marathons, my kids do make straight A’s and were potty trained by 10 months!
We need leaders and winners, But…
- I haven’t met one person who wins all of the time.
- when we experience a lot of success, it is harder to realize we need Jesus.
How to persevere in faith has nothing to do with your current standings in life.
God loves each of us and has designed us just the way we are– slow, fast, tall, short, average student, or superstar.
In God’s world winning does not measure greatness. Love does.
How do you persevere in faith? The way to walk out your faith is to stay on the path God has designed for you.
Living in a relationship with God and loving others out of the abundance of love you have received from Him.
In our relationship with God, there are No Winners and No Losers. We are all embraced equally.
A friend was in the Amsterdam airport years ago and noticed an elderly lady alone in baggage claim. He approached her and asked if she needed help with her luggage. As she turned to him, he realized it was Mother Teresa; standing alone humbly waiting her turn and declining his help. No fanfare, no entourage just a sweet servant of God. A person who learned how to persevere in faith most of her life.
Perseverance in the Bible
There are many stories and verses in the Bible that help us learn how to persevere in faith. Here are a couple of Bible characters that inspire me to keep going by demonstrating perseverance in the Bible.
Bible Characters Who Teach Us How to Persevere
- Joseph Persevered in Faith
Most of us know the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis. There is a 13-year time span illustrating Joseph’s story of how to persevere; from the time Joseph is 17 years old and has his dreams of being a leader to the time those dreams come true.
” When he told it to his father and brothers, his father reprimanded him: “What’s with all this dreaming? Am I and your mother and your brothers all supposed to bow down to you?” Now his brothers were really jealous; but his father brooded over the whole business.”
Genesis 37:10-11 MSG
Those 13 years tell an incredible tale of perseverance and staying the course. Joseph focuses on his Godly purpose and mission and not the obstacles he faces.
Joseph is held against his will, sold, imprisoned, trapped, rejected, and betrayed but demonstrated how to persevere in faith and fulfill the call on his life.
“So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “You’re the man for us. God has given you the inside story no one is as qualified as you in experience and wisdom. From now on, you’re in charge of my affairs; all my people will report to you. Only as king will I be over you.”
Genesis 41:39-40 MSG
- Stephen Persevered in Faith
The story of Stephen is from the Book of Acts. In the days of the early Christian church, the apostles needed help serving those who were being neglected.
Stephen, along with 6 others, was chosen because he was a man of strong faith and full of the Holy Spirit. His call to leadership began at a young age and he enthusiastically pursued the call to spread the good news of Christ and serve others.
Jewish leaders who opposed the spread of Christianity began to spread rumors to stop Stephen’s work and his voice.
Stephen learned how to persevere in faith despite the persecution he faced which led to his death. As he was being stoned because of false allegations, he embodied Jesus’ message to love and forgive others. He was the first of many Christian martyrs.
”As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.”
You may never face the struggles of Joseph or Stephen but will face your own loss, disappointments, and mistakes. You can be encouraged by their stories and learn how to persevere in faith.
Bible Verses About Perseverance
There are many Bible verses about perseverance. Here are 5 verses that teach us how do you persevere in faith.
1. Joshua 1:9 NLT
“This is my command be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
2. 1 Timothy 4:1-13 MSG
“Exercise daily in God no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.
You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.”
3. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
4. Psalms 119:1-8 MSG
“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regret sin comparing my life with your counsel.”
5. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 NLT
“Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.
We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.”
3 Tips to Help You Persevere in Your Faith
It can be extremely difficult to learn how do you persevere in your faith and pursue Jesus in the midst of struggles, but perseverance builds character.
I rely on 3 tips to help me persevere in my faith, stay authentic and develop Godly character:
3 Tips on How to Persevere in Faith
- Have confidence in your Identity in Christ
We have to believe that God created us for a unique purpose. We are his children and regardless of our circumstances, He has something for us to do. Owning this truth makes it easier for us to stay on our path and embrace how to persevere.
- Use comparison to celebrate others
Comparison is a great enemy of perseverance and relationships. It is one of the quickest ways we can lose steam and just quit the race altogether. I think it is unrealistic to eliminate comparison, but we can dismantle its ability to discourage us. Instead of letting comparison defeat us, we can use it to celebrate others.
Shannon Popkin writes in her book Comparison Girl, “On social media, in the neighborhood, at church, or the school drop-off lane, do you push yourself to prove that you measure up, then feel ashamed when you don’t?
Measuring yourself against others isn’t healthy. And it isn’t God’s plan. In fact, the way of Jesus is completely upside down from this measure-up world. He invites us to follow him and be restored to freedom, confidence, and joy.”
- Trust God will guide your steps
Trusting God plays a big role in our ability to persevere. When we stand on the firm belief of who Jesus is and how much He loves us, we are able to keep walking. We can grab each other’s hands along the way as we go through seasons of life.
But at some point, we will have to surrender, walk alone and place our trust in something or someone. I have decided to trust God!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
I am still tempted into competitive thinking, but intentionally redirect my thoughts to where I am supposed to be going. I focus on staying in my lane and finishing the call on my life.
My most important mission is to pursue Jesus with all of my heart and grow closer to Him so I begin to look more like him in all that I do. I am also called to help others along the way.
How do I persevere in faith? Just keep walking while changing the way I think and heading toward the narrow gate.
What about you? How do you persevere in faith and not give up? Would love to hear your story in the comments!
53 thoughts on “How to Persevere in Faith When You Feel Like Giving Up”
I enjoy your blog post today! That small phrase of two very powerful words are ones I like the best in your article, ” steady perseverance.” Reminds me of the parable of the tortoise and the hare. đź™‚ Thanks for writing!
So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading!
I enjoyed your article. It’s hard when you have lost your whole family including only child and husband and mom dad and uncles and aunts in a short span. Then God allows you to become I’ll with diabetes and heart issues. Then Irs you owe money due to your dead husband. I’m not okay scared of losing everything including ssdi. So how do you do all this when you can’t gain weight and you want to end it all?
Lorrie, praying that God surrounds you with His presence and comfort. He will respond with His supernatural spirit and lead us to find peace. I am so sorry for your loss and struggles. Prayers of blessing and hope, Mary
Very encouraging!! Thank you for sharing all of the scriptures on perseverance. We have so many riches in the Lord to keep going for and looking forward to.
Arrica, thank you for reading and yes, God’s word does provide us with riches!
I saw your link on the Instaencouragements link up. Persevering is so important. Thank you for sharing your insight. Comparison can definitely cause trouble, and I appreciate how you approached it. I loved the story of Mother Teresa in the airport!
Marielle, thanks for stopping by! That is a great story and I had forgotten about it until I was working on this story. Still hard to believe!
I love this
“Winning does not count in Gid’s kingdom; love does.”
This is one if my favorite in this post. Thanks for sharing
Kudabo, thank you so much!
I love this Mary! I have been struggling with exercising the past few years because of chronic pain, I would walk/swim and hurt myself and then be out for a few days. This January (2020) God helped me to begin once again to push through the pain and keep walking and I did. My hubby has been my biggest supporter. We have continued to keep walking despite covid and the pain and I am finally up to 3 miles. This has been such a huge accomplishment and I couldn’t have done it without God and my hubby encouraging me to not give up …. â¤
Donna, that is awesome that you have gotten up to 3 miles! What a great story of perseverance! I hope you continue feeling good enough to walk Thanks as always for your wonderful encouragement. As you know, writing can be a lonely journey at times and your words are always uplifting!
Thank you for this reminder to persevere, Mary! (For the record, I love to exercise, but also hate to run! You’re not alone =) Joseph is one of my all time favorite men of God to learn from. I’m so grateful for his example to stay faithful when his world was falling apart. We serve an amazing God who can use the bad for good even if we never quite see it this side of Heaven. Thank you for sharing!
Tabatha, so glad you enjoyed the post and that I have a non-runner friend! Thanks for reading!
I was thinking about Elijah out running the chariot, but then what about Jesus? He even took His time knowing Lazarus was dying and He would raise him. Sometimes, we just run on fear, and it’s better to slow down with Jesus. Quitting, I have discovered is just another temptation.
Thanks for stopping by and reading!
It can be hard not to be disappointed when we see others doing so much better than us, but we all have our own race to run. Perseverance is key.
Elizabeth, thanks for reading!
Thanks for this reminder. I’m in a season where perseverance is so necessary. You’ve included my ‘life’ verse Proverbs 3:5-6 which is another nudge for me to keep going. Thanks again for your timely encouragement.
Gale, thank you for reading and I am so glad you were nudged to push on. May God bless your persevering journey!
I love this so much! So many wonderful nuggets of wisdom! Thank you so much for sharing this and blessing us with it. God bless and take care always!
Sheryl, thank you for reading!
You’re welcome! God bless always!
Mary, this spoke to me on such a personal level today. I’ve been trying to get more fit and was getting more or more discouraged as the quarantine drags on. I was really encouraged throughthis post. Bless you.
Evangeline, I am so glad you were inspired! Blessings to you on your fitness journey!
I love this”””But at some point, we will have to walk alone and place our trust in something or someone. I have decided to trust God!” I have found myself in times where it was just me and God. No one else could go with me through that circumstance. Persevering trust in His presence with me got me through! Praise the Lord that we can persevere in life, because of His faithfulness! Blessings! đź’—
Teresa, thanks for reading and your added insight!
This is such a good reminder that we are not in competition with each other. The bible says we are to run our own race. Persevering on our own course is what counts. I think if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus we will be less prone to compete with others.
Joni, thanks so much for reading!
Mary, this is a beautiful analogy you have compared running and walking to persevering in faith. It is so easy to compare my own beginning to someone else’s middle or ending and think that somehow, I’m not enough because I’m not there yet. Fortunately, God doesn’t compare us to each other and He sees our heart!
Thank you for stopping by!
You inspire me to persevere and write Stephen’s story and maybe Joseph’s. God has given me a heart to write stories about Bible characters in the first person.
Alice, I am so glad you are inspired…can’t wait to see your work!!
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I am new to the Bible and I want to learn as much as I can and keep my faith in the Lord. I have one friend that is helping me to learn the bible and I am grateful for her for helping me.
I am so glad you stopped by and shared your discovery of the Bible. I pray God will continue to reveal Himself through His living word. It is wonderful you have a friend who is walking beside you! Many blessings!
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