It seems somewhat inappropriate to speak of one’s own perseverance, since perseverance, by definition, is enduring in faithfulness to the end. I have not reached the end, but I have the promises of God that I will (Psalm 16:8, I Corinthians 1:6-9, Philippians 1:6, 29, I Thessalonians 5:23-24, II Timothy 1:12, 4:8, 18, I Peter 4:19), in which I have reason to be confident only because of God’s perseverance in me (II Corinthians 4:7-12, Ephesians 2:8-10, Colossians 1:11-12, Hebrews 10:35-39, I John 3:19-24). Nevertheless, one of the main examples so far of perseverance that stands out in my mind is abandoning the religion in which I was raised, in favor of the Way. It was a hard decision because it required making personal sacrifices, mostly in terms of relationships ending or at least changing with many family members and friends. Yet, in major part, it was a very easy decision because the Lord opened my eyes and brought me out of darkness and into light. There was no other choice I could have made.
It’s true that Reformed theology is about much more than Reformation history — part and parcel of Reformed theology is the personal reformation that every Christian experiences every day of his life. One of the reasons I have so firmly latched onto the Reformed tradition and figures such as Martin Luther, is because I identify with his story in my testimony. This is not to compare my own crucible of leaving a false religion and having to confront it, to the scale of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. I’ve never had to stand in front of religious interlocutors to stand up for the truth, nor had my life threatened, had to flee and go into hiding — yet.
But like Luther, I have been called “possessed by the devil” when in reality I was possessed by a hope that I could not keep to myself. Like Luther, I could not, in good conscience, genuflect to authorities that are at odds with God’s authority. Like Luther, I have known the frustration of wanting to see people come to a true knowledge of Christ as their Lord and Savior, yet watch them choose instead to continue to drink poison to their souls.
And like Luther, I can sing, “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever.”