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One of the earliest writings by a woman was penned in 203 A.D. Vibia Perpetua was a young mother living in Carthage. The Roman emperor had forbade any conversion to Christianity. But Perpetua and four others were preparing for baptism in violation of the edict. They were arrested. Perpetua started a diary describing her imprisonment, dreams while in prison and her trial. At her trial, her father pleaded with her to renounce Jesus, but she would not. On the night before her execution, Perpetua gave the diary to another who recorded her death. She bravely faced attack by wild animals in the arena and was finished off by the sword. Her diary was read each year in the churches of Carthage for hundreds of years.*
Her story brings to mind Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:21-22, “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (NIV 1984)
Perpetua is an example of standing firm to the end. She is a picture of perseverance. She refused to renounce her faith in Jesus, though it cost her life. We also must stand firm in our faith. As Peter reminds us, Christian character begins with faith, but continues as different traits are added. One of those traits is perseverance.
*Joyce Ellen Salisbury, “Perpetua, Christian martyr,” Britannica, Last Updated March 3, 2023, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Perpetua-Christian-martyr
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.