The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.
This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.
We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.
Pray Hand Motion
Researchers have found that moving our bodies and adding actions to our learning significantly increases our ability to remember. Here is a hand action you can add to the command to remember it:
Step 1: Take both hands with palms facing out at chest level, pushing away and then raising them up above your head in a posture of exaltation/worship.
Brief Commentary and Context
Summary of "Persevere through Worship" - The greek word for “persevere” in the New Testament (‘hypomone’) combines ideas of endurance, patient waiting, and courage, and is translated in various ways, including ‘perseverance’, ‘endurance’, ‘steadfastness’ and ‘patient endurance’. Eugene Petersen's famous phrase, “a long obedience in the same direction” describes well the lifelong journey of perseverance. Simply it means we will love and trust God in the face of great difficulty to the end. Persevering looks like love that remains loyal through fire, trust that is tested but continues to deepen. It was one of the key virtues of the early church and their teaching and a hallmark of Jesus’ character. The command is “persevere through worship” because what propels us to remain faithful until the end is seeing and ascribing worth to God from our heart in all of life. Without worship we will lose heart and give up.
Brief Commentary and Context - Philippians 4:4-9 "Practices of Worship to Persevere"(Answer this question here: What did this mean in the original context and how is it set in the larger story of the Bible?)
Likely writing from a Roman prison near the end of his life, the apostle Paul exhorted the Philippian church and future generations of believers to an upside down, kingdom life of rejoicing amidst life’s many trials and worries. This wasn’t borrowed advice, or nice sentiment for Paul, but the way of Jesus that he himself embodied. Jesus’ humility to empty himself taking the form of a servant who persevered until death on a cross, became the model for Paul (Philippians 2). Paul considered everything a loss that he may gain Christ. He saw Jesus’ joy through suffering and it inspired him to rejoice and trust in the Father just the same. His life and letter were a clarion call to persevere through worship. When we see Jesus we find the courage and perspective to endure until the end with joy.
Near the end of the letter (Philippians 4:4-9) Paul shares an exhortation and encouragement from his personal experience learning to follow the way of Jesus. Through the many adversities and anxieties of life he practiced rejoicing in the Lord, thanksgiving with honest prayers of supplication and refocusing his thoughts on what is good again and again. He taught them that the diligent practice of these things would lead to a life of peace that passes understanding, a life where the God of peace would be with them. They had seen, heard, received and learned from Paul’s example, but now it could be their experience too.
The practices of worship taught in Philipians 4 include rejoicing, giving thanks, surrendering in trust and aligning to God’s truth and beauty in meditation. It is the process of re-joying (returning to joy) ourselves in Jesus in all things. When we struggle, hurt, or worry, we come back to Jesus. We acknowledge what is difficult or worrying and how we feel. We remember God cares for us and choose to trust him with the many cares and burdens of our hearts. We give our hearts to God so we don’t lose them. This often looks like intentionally transferring responsibility to the Father. We may need to say “right now it is more important for me to trust in God than to make certain that my fear does not come true.” We spend time in prayer asking the Father to meet us and provide in the very place we worry and desire to control. We move to setting our minds on good things and expressing appreciation and gratitude to God for being the source of all good gifts. These practices are the door to God’s presence and peace and the power to persevere in life’s challenges.
Core Truths from the Topic:
Summary Scripture: Rom 5:3-5- Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces patient endurance (perseverance), and (patient) endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
2 Cor 4:16-17- Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
Romans 12:1- Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
2 Cor 1:8-9- We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
James 1:2-4- Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Acts 14:22- Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through much pressure (tribulation) we must enter the kingdom of God.
2 Thessalonians 1:4- As a result, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
2 Thessalonians 3:5- May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the perseverance of Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-3- Therefore, 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.
Other Biblical Stories of “Persevere through Worship”
Acts 5:17-42- Apostles arrested and freed
Hebrews 11:1-40- Old Testament examples of persevering through worship and faith
Matthew 10:16-33- Persevere to the end as sheep amongst wolves
2 Corinthian 6:4-10- Paul’s perseverance in trial
Daniel 3:1-30- The fiery furnace
Remember exercise (Craig Westhoff)