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Character Matters
February 1, 2010
Character Trait – Perseverance:
Check It Out. – What Does It Matter? – How Does it Count?
One Plus God Equals Immeasurable
Living his faith – that’s what William Wilberforce is known for. Against great obstacles Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian and a member of the British Parliament, fought for the abolition of the African slave trade and against slavery itself. He didn’t give up until both were illegal in the British Empire.

Perseverance is a compound Latin word: per – by means of, throughout; and severus – serious, severe, grave, and strict. It means: to persist in any business or enterprise undertaken; to pursue steadily any design or course of action once begun; and to be steadfast in purpose.

The Greek word for perseverance found in the New Testament means to continue earnestly and instantly (see Eph. 6:18 and Col. 4:2). It is the visible manifestation of our faith and a sign of the transformation that takes place in our daily walk, being conformed to God's will (Romans 12:1-12).

Thanks to the movie, many are aware of Wilberforce’s role in bringing an end to slavery in Great Britain, but few have taken the time to examine the beliefs and motivations that spurred him on for decades. In his very readable book, Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce, John Piper tells the story of how Wilberforce was transformed from an unbelieving, young politician into a radically God-centered Christian, and how his spiritual stance helped to change the moral outlook of a nation.

Here’s an object lesson in how one person CAN make a difference. As world leaders and the media debate how to deal with a host of social justice and humanitarian crises, this closer look at Wilberforce’s life and faith serves as an encouragement and example to all believers.

You, too, CAN make a difference. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day logistics of homeschooling and juggling household chores. We wonder if we're doing enough in our homeschooling, concerned that we might leave gapping holes in our children's training. At times like these, it's important that we remember that the one-on-one attention our children are receiving, no matter how small it may seem, is so much more than what they would get anywhere else.

Elisabeth Elliot, in her biography of missionary Amy Carmichael, quotes the woman who had such a major impact on the lives of the children of India:
        “Now you are deep in what seems to me a peculiarly selfless service. The spiritual training of children must be that.
        You work for the years you will not see. You work for the Invisible all the time, but you work for the Eternal.
        So it is all worthwhile.”
426 words
Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce by John Piper and other resources about the life of William Wilberforce are available from - one of our sponsors.
Amy Carmichael by Renee Taft Meloche, which is a biography designed for younger readers, is also available from

Image Credit: © Galyna Andrushko -

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