(304) 757-9222 connect@tvcog.org

Hebrews 12:1-3-1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

As I contemplated what to share on this Mother’s Day, the words, “endurance,” and “perseverance” kept coming to my mind.  Certainly, every Mom knows, every parent knows that parenting requires perseverance and great endurance.  Parents cannot quit parenting once children come along.  Christian parents must parent through challenges and hang in there during rough patches. They must love unconditionally.  At times they may have to take a tough love approach, but they have to persevere and never give up speaking into, praying for, and believing for God’s best for their children.

Is it easier to see the need to persevere in parenting because someone is counting on us?  Someone who is vulnerable, who needs protected and provided for?  Is persevering in parenting easier for us to embrace than perseverance in other parts of our lives? 

Think back over the past couple of years. Did we persevere through that awful Covid mess, or did we miss out, lose out and fall out with people in ways from which we haven’t yet recovered?  Perseverance doesn’t get us a pass from pain or hardship, but perseverance gives us a quality of life and a testimony in the midst of trouble. Like, we don’t just get to go around disappointment or suffering or even personal failure, but when we cultivate the spiritual mindset of biblical perseverance, what we go through becomes what we grow through, and it produces a blessing in our lives.

To talk about perseverance, the writer of Hebrews talks about a race. It is a great analogy because a race has a beginning, and it has an ending.  People who “run the race,” run the entire race. They don’t just start. They finish. People who don’t finish the race, haven’t “run the race.” They have just run. What is the point of that?  To run just to run with no reward to show for the effort?  Count me out.  I want to run for whatever the finish line holds. 

To finish you have to have a spirit of perseverance. Perseverance during a race will include pushing past your feelings. Runners all go through times when their bodies want to give out, and they have thoughts and feelings that they won’t make it. They have to have a mental toughness to stay in the race.  Eventually, their bodies make a shift as they choose to persevere.  Perseverance is a choice!  It doesn’t happen without an act of their will, and when they make the decision, there will come a point when they catch a “second wind” which enables them to keep moving forward.  This “second wind” is a phenomenon whereby an athlete who is out of breath and is too tired to continue something known as “hitting the wall,” that person suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion.

What a blessing to the person who endures!  Only those in such sporting competitions who persevere will be able to perform at the height of their capacity, and they will do so with LESS exertion.  That means, it takes more exertion as you are choosing to persevere than it does once you make the commitment to persevere.  After that, you will arrive at a point where extra strength makes the rest of the journey easier. 

I guess I see that as the point at which, sadly, many people give up.  They give up on their faith.  They give up on a dream.  They give up on a relationship.  They give up on their health.  They give up on their career.  People who press on gain an unusual ability to go all the way.  If the picture I am painting is true, and I believe it is, I am sad for those who don’t persevere.  If they would just take another step, if they would just go a little further, if they would just trust Jesus fully in some situation, if they would just commit their heart, their mind, and their strength, I believe that “second wind” would come in the form of the Holy Spirit who will take them where they could never go on their own. 

I want to give you three reasons today why you should persevere.

  1. We persevere because there is a purpose to achieve. God has a plan.
  2. We persevere because there are promises to receive. It will be worth it.
  3. We persevere because there is a Person to believe. God says you will make it.

First of all, we choose to persevere because there is a purpose to achieve.  As believers, we learn as we read the Bible that God has a plan for our lives.  We are here for a reason.  We are here to impact others.  We are here to accomplish something significant.  Simply, we are here to do the will of God. You cannot accomplish the will of God without perseverance.  God puts us in difficult situations on purpose at times.  When you read about the ways God used people in the Bible, you read that their purpose was powerful, but it wasn’t easy.  They were sent places that were difficult to go to.  They were put in situations that were often painful and isolating.  They were given messages that put them at odds with other people.  And yet, they were empowered beyond themselves to do signs, miracles, and wonders and to reap an amazing harvest for the Kingdom of God. 

What if the Gospel writers had given up?  What if the Apostle Paul had thrown in the towel?  Where would the Church be today without their dedication, without their writing, without their eye-witness accounts?  Just two chapters before today’s text, the Hebrew writer says, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36.

The will of God will challenge you to walk by faith.  The will of God will throw you out into deep waters.  Don’t quit because the will of God is your purpose to achieve, and God’s plan is always best. 

I want to introduce you to a remarkable young mom in our congregation.  Her name is Kellie Ann Lilly.  She is a single mom to a cutie pie named Logan. (Show the picture of them) She is a single mom because husband, Matt, had cancer that took his earthly life.  She is an example of someone who chose to persevere in spite of very difficult circumstances.  She is here to share here testimony.  Please welcome Kelli Ann to the platform.


Good Morning. My husband, Matt, had done six months of chemo and had been “in remission” for 6 months when they told us we could start trying to get pregnant.  We found out about 6 months later we were expecting.  That was also when Matt had his one-year check-up, and they said the cancer had returned. 

When I found out I was pregnant with Logan I thought, “This is the sign of hope we have been waiting for.  This is a sign that things are going to be okay.” When it became clear that Matt was not going to be with us much longer, it felt like someone just popped my happy bubble. But every day since, God has used our son, Logan, to remind me of how good God is.

The joy He brought all of us through Logan during Matt’s illness was immeasurable. Then Matt passed, and I felt like all eyes were on me to see what I was going to do. However, I just felt God pulling me towards another thought, and that was “You are going to show them what I can do.” God used Logan differently after Matt passed. I didn’t have the option to check out of life. I was a mom.  I had a mouth to feed, diapers to change, and I had to make sure I was capable of taking care of Logan, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I knew I wanted Logan to be raised knowing Jesus, and I felt that not so gentle nudge to go to Teays Valley Church of God, and immediately knew it was where we were supposed to be. This church has opened the doors to explain to Logan that his Daddy is in heaven with Jesus, and we will be together again someday. And I feel a great responsibility to do my part in raising him here to make sure they have that reunion someday.

Ultimately, God gave me purpose in motherhood when my title of wife had been stripped away, and He continues to help me though this identity crisis we sometimes have when life takes a major shift. I persevere every day in both grief and motherhood. Some days Logan and I face speed bumps, and other days we climb mountains, but God is good on both days.


Kellie’s husband’s untimely death didn’t change the fact that God had given Kellie a purpose to achieve.  He has a plan and will for her to accomplish. Rather than become stuck in the hole of grief, asking “Why isn’t Matt here?” she instead sought out why she was here.  God quickly gave her insight, and she chose to persevere, not so that others could see what she could do, but so they could see what God could do, as she surrendered to His plan.

So, we persevere because there is a purpose to achieve. God has a plan. Second, we persevere because there are promises to receive. It will be worth it! Look again at Hebrews 10:36, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.

Read that verse again silently. What I want to convey to you this morning is that perseverance is a gateway to the promises of God.  If you persevere and do the will of God, there are promises from God that you can receive. 

In that regard, perseverance has an element of faith to it.  The person who perseveres believes that not only does God have a good reason for asking us to persevere, but He will reward those who do.  And believing that requires faith. 

Look at Hebrews 10:36 in its full context:  36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”[f] 38 And, “But my righteous[g] one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”[h] 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Did you hear verse 38?  God takes no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.  It is those who live by faith, who believe the promises of God, who know that on the other side of the finish line and all along the journey, no matter how intense it becomes, it is those people who become objects of God’s pleasure. They are the ones who are rewarded for their faith.

This next passage of Scripture still comes from Hebrews.  “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Persevere in faith because there are good things to receive from God not the least of which is spiritual maturity.  James tells us in chapter one that we need to persevere so that we can become spiritually mature, complete, and not lacking anything.  Do you understand that perseverance leads to a wholeness of life where you are satisfied, where you feel complete in Jesus, and where you can testify that you lack nothing?  Not necessarily because you have everything the world says would bring you fulfillment but because you have Jesus, and when you possess Him fully (or better when He possesses you fully) you have all you could ever ask for.  Don’t quit on Jesus.  Don’t quit on yourself.  Don’t quit on your dreams.  It will be worth it.  God has made promises to you that He will keep!

Third and finally, we persevere because there is Someone to believe. God says you will make it. 

Let me revisit our main text in Hebrews 12:  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Jesus is someone you can not only believe overcame sin, hell, death, and Satan, that He is the ultimate when it comes to perseverance, but you can believe if you focus your spiritual sight on Him, He will enable you to do the very same.  If you look to Him, you won’t go under.  If you look to Him, you’ll catch that second wind.  You won’t make it if you try to do it on your own.  You won’t make it outside of a relationship with Jesus.  You won’t achieve your earthly purpose and you won’t reach an eternal home in Heaven without Him.  It is looking intently at Jesus that will give you the juice you need to keep going.  Do you see the last part of this Scripture?  “So that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Don’t stop worshiping Him.  Don’t stop praying to Him.  Don’t stop reading your Bible.  Don’t quit going to Church.  If you quit looking to Jesus and nurturing your faith, you will grow weary.  If you stop pursuing life with Jesus, you will lose heart.  I see it all the time!

Isaiah described this miracle: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

You will get tired.  You will stumble.  You might even fall, but if you will trust in the Lord, He will give you what you need to continue to finish whatever race He has assigned you!  He is the One who makes the difference!

Ignance Paderewski, Poland’s famous concert pianist and prime minister, was giving a series of concerts. A mother, wishing to encourage her young son’s progress at the piano, bought tickets for a performance. When the night arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on stage. The mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy eventually made his way through a door marked, “No Admittance.” When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.

Suddenly, the curtains parted, and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” His mother gasped, but before she could retrieve her son, the great piano master appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, “Don’t quit!  Keep playing!” Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon, his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and young novice held the crowd mesmerized.

Friends, Jesus is here today to surround you, to whisper in your ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.”

The word today for several people today is hold on.  Don’t quit.  Just trust Jesus.  If you are a believer, it is always too soon to quit.  There is an eternal purpose to achieve. God has a plan.  There are blessings to receive. Persevering will be worth it.  Fix your eyes on Jesus.  He will make the difference in every circumstance.

%d bloggers like this: