3 Ways to Develop a Persistent Faith

by | Jun 4, 2024

One of the most profound parables Jesus shared is the story of the persistent widow. When we trace the life of Jesus, it’s clear why this parable appears when it does. Jesus was beginning to reveal the Kingdom’s arrival, His imminent death, and the suffering that awaited both Him and His disciples. He knew that these soul-wrenching, character-defining moments required preparation, and He chose to do so through the tale of a widow’s relentless faith.

In Luke 18:1-8, we find this transformative parable. A quick read reveals several key insights about this widow’s life:

  1. She lived in a time and culture where women’s rights were nearly non-existent.
  2. She had been married but had lost her husband along life’s journey, likely leaving her alone.
  3. She faced a legal injustice from what the Bible describes as an “enemy” or “opponent.”
  4. She had to deal with a judge who neither feared God nor respected others.
  5. She was ignored repeatedly by this unjust judge.

Understanding the context makes her faith even more compelling. This widow’s faith serves as a lesson, an example, a standard—a bare-bones plea from the Lord to His disciples to grasp what this widow possessed. So, what exactly did she have?

Before delving into her story, Jesus introduces a crucial concept in the first sentence of this parable: the foundational role of prayer in maintaining a persistent faith. He told His disciples that the only way to handle and overcome the impending persecution and grief was through prayer. “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray…”

Prayer is the cornerstone of Jesus’ message in this parable.

He emphasizes that to endure and overcome the coming trials, prayer is essential. I appreciate this definition of prayer: a humble invitation to bring God into your life and circumstances. When we shift from building our lives alone to inviting God into every aspect, we gain His counsel, support, and intimacy. This growing relationship with Him can sustain us through life’s greatest challenges.

While a robust prayer life is crucial, the persistent widow exemplifies two additional key elements: courage and fortitude.

Jesus instructs His disciples to pray and not grow weary or lose heart. Despite the odds, the widow faced her unjust judge with unwavering determination. She returned time and again, undeterred by repeated rejections. In our own moments of desperation, we must find courage in Christ.

Just as the widow kept coming back, we too must persist in our faith, especially when the odds seem stacked against us. If you’re facing a significant challenge, remember the widow. Don’t give up, don’t lose heart, keep fighting, for Jesus will intervene at just the right moment.

After we have prayed and summoned all our courage, we add the crucial ingredient of fortitude. Fortitude is the ability to hold on when others let go.

The widow’s tenacity stemmed from her unwavering belief in the justice she deserved. If courage drove her to persist, fortitude gave her the strength to endure when many would have surrendered.

You might feel like you’re hanging by a thread, but that thread could be a lifeline from Christ.

Others might encourage you to give up, but what is the Lord telling you? What does the persistent widow speak to you? For me, she says…Keep praying, keep coming, don’t lose heart, and don’t give up!

Would you like to hear more? Check out this podcast episode:

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