Spring 2004/Final Issue


The Power
of Perseverance

by Dale MacDonald

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-4
If you were to ask 10 different people what singular thing they think had the power to change the world, you’d probably get 10 different answers ranging from love to war. What most would fail to recognize, however, is that the driving force behind any answer one would give is perseverance: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counter influences, opposition or discouragement. This is the secret to success in all you do, simply do not give up.

According to James, we must first have faith before we see the fruition of perseverance, but what is faith? It is defined as complete trust, something that is believed, especially with strong conviction. The word “faith” is not just a description of Christian belief. It is what drives the passion inside of us. It is the thought that there is a God who knows better than we do, and so we put our trust in Him.

This is not a slogan on a T-shirt or a bumper sticker, this is the very foundation of what can, and has, changed the world! We must also see this faith tested. Christ explained that the student ought not think He is greater than the teacher. So, in the same way He did, we will also be persecuted. This means that tribulations will come that will cause us to find humility and make our souls vulnerable to the world. God not only calls us to endure these trials, but to consider it a blessing, pure joy even, that we do. To understand that it is through the testing of the fiber of who we are that something is birthed inside us that could shake our culture, something that has a power greater than any man made weapon.

Our society is full of complacency and we often find ourselves so caught up with ourselves that we become numb to the world around us. There are few who have the faith and have developed the perseverance, but these few provide us with beacons of light to follow.

The film The Passion of the Christ has provided us with the ultimate example of perseverance: Jesus Christ. What the film has great success in bringing to the forefront was that Christ persisted, and held tight to his word. His death is portrayed not as an isolated event, but as the culmination of his life. His death reflected everything that Christ was about. One of my favorite parts of the movie is where a broken and dying Jesus prays for those who were persecuting him, just one example of his teachings permeating through his death. His entire life Christ was being prepared for this moment. He had been heavily tested, and endured so that He could persevere through unfathomable temptation on the cross, and fulfill God’s purpose for his life. Through betrayal, trial, judgment, hate, the tearing of his flesh, the mental anguish, the nails through His hands, and even the forsaking of God, Christ persevered through more than we could imagine and thus He became more than we could ever hope for: Salvation.

There are few who have the faith and have developed the perseverance, but these few provide us with beacons of light to follow.
In the shadow of that example we find thousands of people who found the will to persevere. Martin Luther King Jr. held fast against death threats, and bigotry, even to the point of his own death, to bring his dream of equal rights to all people. The stories of Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall portray a picture of everyday people enduring ridicule for one’s faith, to a degree that they were willing to die for those beliefs. This kind of faith inspired a spiritual awakening unlike Colorado, or this country, has ever seen before.

The list of these stories goes on for pages, and I hope upon hope that some of us reading this article can be added to that list. All it takes s for the ordinary caterpillar to endure the sufferings of the cocoon to become the beautiful butterfly it was meant to be. In other words, don’t be an ordinary person in an extraordinary circumstance, be an extraordinary person in every circumstance. Persevere.

Nikos Kazantzakis said it best in his beautiful book The Last Temptation of Christ: “Struggle between the flesh and the spirit, rebellion and resistance, reconciliation and submission, and finally–the supreme purpose of the struggle–union with God: this was the ascent taken by Christ, the ascent which He invites us to take as well, following in His bloody tracks. This is the Supreme Duty of the man who struggles–to set out for the lofty peak which Christ, the first-born son of salvation, attained.

"Passion" image
courtesy of
New Market Films

Dale was born in Buffalo, New York and raised in Denver, Colorado. He Graduated from Regis Jesuit High School in the year 2000, and completed two years of ministry training at Denver Master’s Commission, while attending Bible college at WWC. Dale has been an active part of Breakthrough Ministries aka Xstream Youth Ministries, who lost a member of their youth group, Rachel Scott, in the Columbine Tragedy, from 1999 until he moved to Austin, Texas in 2002 where he currently lives and is pursuing a career in music.

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