My old Sears lawnmower refused to start even after I checked the filter, the gas lines and the spark plug. Who could blame the 25 year workhorse? Nevertheless, I kept pulling the starter cord persistently for over 50 times. It would cough and sputter but not keep running until finally it did. The main reason I was so persistent was that the alternative was to buy a new mower for around 350 dollars. Some synonyms for persistent might be unrelenting, repetitious, or hardheaded. I plead guilty to the last one.
Persistence can be a positive or negative trait. It is described as continuing steadily or firmly in some state, purpose, or course of action in spite of opposition or criticism. When learning a new skill or language it is certainly needed. However, when one is persistent in the use of drugs or alcohol, it can lead to addiction or even death.
Christ’s love for His creation is persistent, relentless and wonderful. He constantly stands at the door of one’s heart asking to come in ( Rev 3:20). Even His last words on the cross expressed this love and persistence ( Lk 23: 34) ( Lk 23: 40-43).
Christians are told to be persistent in: prayer, ( 1 Th 5:17) ( Php 4:6) ( Rom 12:12) attendance, ( Heb 10:25) good deeds, ( Gal 6:9) thankfulness, ( 1Th 5:18) ( Col 2:7) love, ( Php 1:9) and several other Christian graces. Some versions use the word abounding which connotes an over-whelming persistence. Sadly, the scriptures also mention those who, “…deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the truth…” and will have, “…only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire…” ( Heb 10: 26-27). Therefore our task is continue on with loving persistence.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
This word is not used much anymore expect by those who work with metal and jewelry. It deals with the waste matter taken off the molten metal during smelting. I couldn’t find the word in the New Testament, but God uses it in the Old Testament to make a strong spiritual metaphor. “All the wicked of the earth you ( God)( v 115) discard like dross…” ( Ps 119:119). “the house of Israel has become dross to me;…so I will gather you in my anger…and you will be melted.” ( Ezk 22: 18:22). “ …I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.” ( Isa 1: 24-25).
The Holy Spirit writer and Apostle, Paul, uses a different metaphor for the useless material to be discarded ---circumcision. The physical act that meant so much in the Old Law is now unnecessary. “…the uncircumcised who obey the law will condemn those circumcised who are lawbreakers…” ( Rom 2:25). “…neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything (spiritually), what counts is a new creation ( Gal 6:15).
He further explains why this action is like the dross of metal. “…For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh.” ( Php 3:3). Paul seals the deal with this statement, “…and circumcision is circumcision of the HEART, by the Spirit, not by the written code…” ( Rom 2:29).
It is necessary then for all who have put on Christ in immersion ( Gal 3:26-28), both male and female, to rid themselves of the dross of the heart ( 1 Cor 5:8). Some of the 1st Century Christians still dealt with jealousy, anger, gossip and arrogance ( 2 Cor 12: 20). These and several other behaviors are the dross that God wants us to remove from our hearts as He refines us like silver or gold, so that we can become pure and valuable in His eyes ( Zes 13:9).
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
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