endurance 6

When I first started exercising, I stretched and stressed muscles that I had not used in a long time. When your job involved sitting in an office working on a computer or talking to people most of the time, it did not require any serious exertion. The adage “use it or lose it” is true. Even though I practiced karate when I was young, nearly half a century of “non-use” had erased any trace of agility or power that was once there. The exercises put the long neglected muscles through the grind, and an hour later I was exhausted and aching all over! I thought I could sleep it off, but the following morning proved otherwise. Not only did the soreness not go away, but the fact that I had to repeat it day after day poured cold water on any enthusiasm I had for my new year resolution. That’s when I’m reminded that what I need is endurance in order to succeed.

In the spiritual realm it is the same. Often one quality makes the difference between success and failure – endurance. Christians know and appreciate the value of qualities like faith, hope and love. Few, however, make it their goal to pursue endurance, possibly because it is not a high-profile character like the three, or possibly due to its close association with suffering, which few of us want. Yet that’s what Scripture teaches us to do, because endurance is exactly what we need when we encounter hardship and suffer:
1 Tim 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
• 2 Co 1:6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
• 2 Co 6:4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;

If we mean business with God, both Paul and Peter taught that persecution and suffering is inevitable:
2 Tim 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
• 1 Pet 2:20-21 But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.

Since trouble is unavoidable, patient endurance is mandatory.

What’s more, endurance is closely linked to faith, hope and love. In addition to 1 Tim 6:11 which we’ve already looked at:
2 Tim 3:10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,
• Tit 2:2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
• Rom 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
• 1 Thes 1:3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

These qualities are so intricately intertwined that they develop together, making us mature and complete. I hope we all learn endurance, and all the more as we see the Day approaching.

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