Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Endurance Under Affliction

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

How is it that we become disgruntled, discouraged, and defeated in our negative situations, when we know that by faith in Christ Jesus, we are victorious?  It makes one question if you truly have the spirit of God residing within.  God gives us not the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power to endure that which comes against us.  

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

Moses’ fearlessness and endurance was that, in faith, he kept the one who is invisible continually before his eyes. 

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.    Hebrews 11:27

We, like Moses Abraham, and Apostle Paul,  must remain faithful and committed to endure the journey we began with God.  

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us  Hebrews 12:1

A vital element that strengthens the heart for endurance is keeping one’s eyes on the Lord or staying focused on Him as the victorious Savior. While He is physically invisible to us, He is nevertheless revealed to us in the written Word. It is there, in the Word, that we can keep our eyes on the Savior.

To endure means to bear with or put up with.  As such, it means “to bear with either someone or something -  

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love  Ephesians 4:2  

But as God's servants, we have commended ourselves in every way, with great endurance, in persecutions, in difficulties, in distresses,  2 Corinthains 6:4

Or as a difficult pressure or affliction -  

As a result we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions you are enduring.
 2 Thessalonians 1:4

Endurance is a Christ-like quality that God wants to develop in our lives as a part of our spiritual growth - 

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5


But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patienceLuke 8:15

The word of God has to be fully rooted and grounded in your heart:

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.  They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.  And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.  Luke 8:11-15

Because of the hostile pressures mentioned in the various soils, bearing fruit takes time and requires growth which here requires a steadfast endurance, just as it does for the farmer.

My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. James 1:2-4

These scriptures relate endurance to the issue of spiritual growth and maturity. The relationship of suffering, endurance, and hope in the growth and maturity of believers is also discussed by Apostle Paul in Romans: 

Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance; and endurance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Words for “endurance,” are often used in connection with trials or tribulation, but never in the sense of mere resignation or a ‘grin and bear it’ attitude. 

Ö     They are often used in connection with God’s use of trials as tools for our growth and maturity.   “Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance; and endurance, character; and character, hope”.
 Ö     Endurance under affliction is also a means of establishing the reality of Christ in a Christian’s life or of attesting to the character of one’s walk with the Savior.   

Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him.  James 1:12

Endurance and patience are both used in connection with joy because the believer’s endurance under trials or patience with others or in situations should never be a matter of grim resignation to a situation or a person who might try our patience. You know; the ‘grin and bear it’ routine where underneath the grin is a sigh of impatience. Rather, because both are to be motivated by hope in the person, purposes, promises, and principles of God as found in His Word, biblical endurance and patience is to be encapsulated with joy. 

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:2-5

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;   Romans 12:12

We are strengthened and comforted by the Holy Spirit within us:

Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:   Colossians 1:11-12

Remember the work of Christ did not end on the cross!  We have continuous access to Him!

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.   Hebrews 12:2

Therefore beloved, be strong in the Lord in the power of His might; rejoice knowing that God is the great avenger and all will work out to those who endure to the end!

Biblical Studies