Matters of Faith: Persevering Faith


Reverend J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.

Jeremiah 20:9 (NKJV)

9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

This is one of those scriptures that is often preached, but rarely given the proper exegetical attention. Pashur, the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, responded to the prophecy Jeremiah gave in the preceding chapter that concluded with these words; “…, that the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, had said, “I am going to bring on this city and on every nearby town all the punishment that I said I would, because you are stubborn and will not listen to what I say” (Jeremiah‬ ‭19:15‬ ‭GNB‬‬). Pashur responds by having Jeremiah beaten and thrown into prison. After he was released, he says to Pashur, “The Lord himself has said, ‘I am going to make you a terror to yourself and to your friends, and you will see them all killed by the swords of their enemies. I am going to put all the people of Judah under the power of the king of Babylonia; he will take some away as prisoners to his country and put others to death. (Jeremiah‬ ‭20:4‬ ‭GNB‬‬)

Jeremiah suffered for his service, yet he persevered. The title “weeping prophet” was very deserving. He not only wept over Israel, but he wept for himself. I can understand why he would have to weep for himself. Anyone who had to give prophecies like these had expect retaliation. It must be something when you’re a prophet of doom and gloom. Yet, in spite of all the persecution and threats to his life, Jeremiah persevered.

When he finally cries out, “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones,” he knew the call in his life was more than an urge or a desire; it permiated his mind, body and soul. It had consumed him to the extinct that he could not refuse, dismiss, or ignore it. If it cost him his life, so be it.

There is power in determination that consumes a person from the inside out. It’s stronger than your emotions, stronger than thinking, stronger than your reasoning. This type of determination results in persevering faith. To persevere is defined by as the ability or determination to persist in anything undertaken; to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; to continue steadfastly. Jeremiah said it’s like fire shut up in my bones.

As a minister of the gospel living in the inner city of New York, I can identify with Jeremiah. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve not come close to experiencing the type of vitriol, persecution, and attacks that Jeremiah endured, but I know what it’s like to be consumed by a call to share a God-given word to people who don’t want to hear it, or refuse to believe it. Being misunderstood, rejected and ignored is the call.

Last week, I wrote about radical living and how it changes you and those you come into contact with. Persevering faith, as personified by Jeremiah, is radical living to the max! In his case, it was more than a choice. He was compelled or overpowered by the spirit of the Lord. If we have a calling, it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter what difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement we could or will face. Persevering faith will allow us to continue steadfastly in our calling. We may not see the results we desire, but the Lord will be glorified and Satan will be terrified!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook.


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