Over a week ago, we may have received a new Pentecost. To grow and persevere in the life in the Spirit, we must undergird our perseverance with self-control. Perseverance is not a mysterious quality that just one day suddenly materializes. It results from faith, virtue, discernment, and self-control (2 Pt 1:5- 6).
We are graced with perseverance not only through self-control, but also through afflictions (Rm 5:3) suffered for love of Jesus. Thus, we should "count it pure joy" when we "are involved in every sort of trial" (Jas 1:2). We must vigilantly watch and pray so as not to fall into temptation (Mt 26:41).
Ultimately, we accept the graces which lead to perseverance because of our love for God. "There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure" (1 Cor 13:7). "There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor 13:13).
Without perseverance, our lives are tragic, and even Jesus' death is in vain for us (1 Cor 1:17). If we run the race of the Christian life (see 2 Tm 4:7) but don't cross the finish line, we have run the race in vain. We should daily pray for the grace of final perseverance. Let us profess with Paul: "I put no value on my life if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus, bearing witness to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24).