God’s Word makes it clear that He is pleased when we are determined to obey Him. Choose one or more of these stories about perseverance to share with your children. The accompanying questions will help your children internalize the truths from the passage.
If the Bible passage is too complex for your kids, paraphrase the story yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.”
Read Hebrews 12:1-11.
Elite athletes are very disciplined in their training, enduring strenuous practice routines, because they are focused on the goal of succeeding in their chosen sport. The Bible compares living the Christian life to running a race.
Just as running a race wearing a heavy backpack would slow a runner down, so sin gets in the way of our ability to live our lives in a way that honours God. Sin consumes our time and energy and takes our focus off God, slowing us down in our life race.
The Bible tells us that God does allow life to get difficult at times so we can be made holy. Even though God’s discipline is painful, it produces righteousness and peace. Just as elite athletes push themselves to endure pain during a race by focusing on pre‑planned thoughts and goals, we are to rely on Jesus for encouragement and strength when we are running our life race.
Just as a gardener works hard to keep their garden free from weeds, God wants us to work hard at weeding the sin out of our lives. The “weeds” God wants to remove from our lives are the negative opposites of the fruit of the Spirit. For example hate (the opposite of love), complaining and dissatisfaction (versus joy), fighting and quarrelling (versus peace), impatience (v. patience), unkindness (v. kindness), unfaithfulness (v. faithfulness), harsh words and actions (v. gentleness), and temper tantrums and losing control of words, actions and emotions (v. self-control).
To get rid of this sin, we need to ask God to clean it out of us by the power of His Holy Spirit. We can also find encouragement through meeting with other Christians and asking God for strength and wisdom (James 1:4-6, Isaiah 40:29).
God promises eternal life with Him in heaven for His followers. God’s followers are those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God and believe that through His death and resurrection, they have received forgiveness for their sins.
Read Luke 18:1-8 and Jeremiah 9:23-24.
Usually when children really want something from their parents, they keep asking and asking over and over again. Similarly, in this story, a widow went to see a judge every day, asking him to grant her justice against someone who had treated her unfairly.
The judge did not fear God, nor care for men, yet he granted the widow’s request because he did not want her coming back day after day. God does care for His people and He will bring about justice for those who ask. God delights in kindness, justice and righteousness.
Read Genesis 6:5-22.
God gave Noah a pretty big job; God asked him to build a huge boat. Even though he didn’t live near a lake or ocean, Noah persevered in finishing the job that God gave him.
Someday, God might give one of us a hard job to do, too. God might ask you to be friends with a kid who everyone else is choosing to ignore. He might ask you to forgive a brother or sister who teases you every day. God was pleased with Noah’s perseverance, and God will also be pleased with you when you persevere in doing what is right.
Read Daniel 1:1-7, and Daniel 6:1-28 (omit verse 24 for young or sensitive children).
Daniel was captured, along with many more of God’s people, and taken to live in a foreign country. In this country they had different traditions and customs and it was not acceptable to worship God. But Daniel chose to continue serving God. Even though it meant that he was risking death, Daniel knelt down and honoured God by praying three times a day.
When the king discovered that Daniel was breaking the law by praying to God, he had Daniel thrown into a den of hungry lions. God stood by Daniel and rewarded his unwavering commitment to righteousness by protecting him from being eaten by the lions.
Read Acts 5:12-42.
The Pharisees were jealous of all the attention the people were giving to the apostles. They had them arrested and thrown in prison. Despite rather frightening circumstances, the apostles persevered in preaching the good news of God’s kingdom. They could have run from the potential trouble and justified leaving town by saying, “I will accomplish more for God by preaching in another town. What good is it if I stay in this town and end up dead?”
The apostles knew the safest thing was to do what God had asked them to do – to stay and preach the good news. Although they were in danger of being killed, the apostles stayed and preached, and God protected them. They rejoiced because they had the opportunity to suffer a whipping for the name of Jesus.
Read 1 Kings 18:1-2,5,41-45 and James 5:17-18.
The Bible says that Elijah was a man, just like us! When he prayed for fire to fall from heaven to burn up a sacrifice, it did! But when Elijah asked God to send rain, he had to ask seven times before God sent the rain. Sometimes God answers prayers right away and sometimes we have to keep asking.
Other times, God may not answer in the ways we expect. We need to be persistent and patient when we pray, waiting for God’s answers and trusting that He knows what is best for us.