Truth

Endurance

Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and you will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:32-33)

The verdict is in. The end of the story is written. We win. Even in the midst of persecution we can have joyful peace in the certainty of Christ’s victory. We just have to make it to the end. And how do we do that? We endure.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:36 that, “[We] have need of endurance, so that after [we] have done the will of God, [we] may receive the promise.” There are a couple different viewpoints when it comes to endurance. There’s the “if we can just hold on ’til the end” people. These are the people who let life happen to them. Who hold onto their salvation by the skin of their teeth and do nothing to further the kingdom of God. Then there’s the people who charge into their future. The people who run for the finish line. Endurance is not just about surviving. It’s about how we get there.

“My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of The Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by The Lord—that The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:10-11) The Greek word for endure in this passage of scripture is hupomeno. Hupomeno means to hold one’s ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, hold out under stress, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously. It is not passive resignation to fate or mere patience, but the active, energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance. Endurance isn’t just making it to the end. It includes our attitude as we go.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) My friends, there are generations of saints that have gone before that are cheering us on. But we can’t run with the cares of this world weighing us down. Cast them over on The Lord and run your race! Keep your eyes on God’s eternal purpose and endure.

Thoughts, Truth

Unstoppable

We had a special speaker in church last Sunday. He spoke on being unstoppable. The things that stop us and the things that urge us to press forward. After the events of the last month I feel pretty unstoppable. But I have been stopped before. By tiny, seemingly insignificant things.

The children of Israel. God rescued them from Egypt in an unmistakable and spectacular fashion. They experienced what I would think was the biggest mass healing ever as they partook of the atonement. And then they plundered their captors as they left. He provided an escape through the Red Sea. Through it! Not around it. One thing the speaker at church said stuck with me. He said, “The Spirit of God wants to lead us through, not around our trials.”

Through it, not around. There is growth in adversity, if its handled right. Once the Israelites were through the brunt of their trial…that’s when the whining and complaining began. They had experienced God’s deliverance. They had experienced God’s miraculous provision through the water from the rock, the manna, and the quail. They had experienced God’s guidance through the pillars of smoke and fire. He was with them through it all. What more did they want? As the whining reached its crescendo. They camped in the middle of the wilderness. Stopped by their own selfishness and disobedience. Stopped where God never intended them to be. God intended to guide them straight through to the other side. Instead they chose to wander, around the mountain they went.

We need to trust Him. He promised in His word that “He would never leave us or forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). “All His promises are Yes and Amen unto the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Louie Giglio preached a message that I love, “How Great is Our God.” If you’ve never watched it, do yourself a favor and do so. In it he talks about the bigness of our God and how small we are by comparison. And if we are small. Our problems must be teensy! Towards the end he talks about how people assume that we will always wake up to rosy circumstances. Does that happen…always? No. Can God do it? Yes. Absolutely. But if God wouldn’t deliver Jesus from carrying His cross, what makes us think He will do that for us. In the Word he tells us to “pick up our cross and follow Him.” (Matthew 16:24) Paul said that, “He died daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). What God did promise us is that as we walk though the trials and tribulations of life He will be there right in the middle of it with us. And as we walk our weakness will be transformed into His strength. Our doubt will be transformed to faith. Our defeat will be transformed into victory. Keep walking, be unstoppable!

But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)