True Virtue: Recentering on What Matters Most



In a world where we have access to so much instant gratification, it’s easy to care about something, but difficult to commit to something—whether it’s a TV show, a cause we care about, or even a friendship. 

Think about it. When injustice happens, it’s easy to post about your rage and then forget about it by the next day. When you’re feeling lonely, it’s easy to spend hours scrolling instead of intentionally connecting with someone else.

But at the end of the day, we recognize there’s something missing. And that’s where another virtue comes in—perseverance. 

The thing about perseverance is that it must be proven—not just proclaimed. And that makes it all the more difficult because perseverance is usually born out of pain. 

No one knew this better than Paul, who could basically give a TED Talk on what it looks like to persevere through trials. 

Let’s review: 

  • He was repeatedly imprisoned. 

  • He got shipwrecked not once but three different times. 

  • He got lashes not once but five different times. 

  • He was stoned, beaten, faced danger pretty much everywhere, and carried burdens of pastoring several churches. 

  • He often went without food and adequate clothing.

Any one of those things would require a great deal of perseverance. But all of them? It seems impossible. 

Sometimes, we read Scripture and we forget that these characters are real humans with real feelings, real fears, and real physical needs. Paul wasn’t some superhero. He was an ordinary man. 

Yet, when he faced these trials, he didn’t throw in the towel. He didn’t complain about how horrible his life was. He didn’t start yelling at God about how unfair it was that following Him cost him everything. 

He took his pain and turned it into purpose. While he was in prison, he wrote these words: 

And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. Philippians 1:12-13 NLT

Paul wasn’t denying his reality. He acknowledged that it was hard. In fact, he listed a whole bunch of his painful experiences in 2 Corinthians. But he realized that he had a choice. 

He could choose to look at life through the pain of his circumstances. Or he could choose to look for the goodness of God even in the middle of his suffering. 

Like Paul, we have a daily choice to persevere. Jesus promised us that we’ll have trouble in this life. But on those hard days—the days where it’s hard to see the goodness of God—we can choose to keep going, knowing that our eternal prize is worth more than our temporary pain. 

And when we feel like we just can’t keep going, God meets us there with more of His grace, His strength, and His power. 

Pray: God, I realize that it’s often tempting for me to quit rather than commit. But I want to grow in the virtue of perseverance. Father, give me more of Your grace and strength today so that I can persevere in the race You’re calling me to. Like Paul, help me find purpose in my pain, and show me how to persevere today and every day. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Challenge: Is there any area in your life where you need to show more perseverance? Find some Scriptures to encourage you to keep going. Put them in a place you’ll see them often.