Monday, July 31, 2017

Don't Give In; Don't Give Up

so that you may not be slothful, but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises.   Hebrews 6:12

The words for endurance and patience are often used in a prophetic sense in relation to
* the coming of the Lord, 
* inheriting the promises of God, and 
eternal rewards. 

In such passages we are shown how our eternal hope and the sure promises of God are very much the foundation and the means of patience with people or perseverance under difficult conditions. The word illustrates this when it says:

“so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises.”  Hebrews 6:12 

“And so by persevering, Abraham inherited the promise”  
Hebrews 6:15

Moses was willing to leave the treasures of Egypt, 

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.  Hebrews 11:25-27

It was the invisible, but very real future reward that gave Moses the capacity to endure ill-treatment with the people of God. 

One passage that strongly stresses this prophetic element and the way it should impact our ability to endure and show undefined patience is  found in the flowing passage:  

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.  James 5:10-11

Two truths: 

   First, we need to endure life’s pressures and be patient with others because, we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes; all the negative situations we find ourselves in or what is causing the other person to do, say or act. 

   Secondly, our capacity for patience strongly depends on our confidence in God’s person and eternal purposes. The Lord Jesus, the great physician and sovereign all-wise Lord, can never let us down.  As James told his readers, we are to strengthen our hearts because the Lord’s coming is near: 

You also be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the Lord's return is near. James 5:8

When He comes, he will wipe away every tear, right every wrong, and reward every faithfulness, sacrifice and acts of obedience.

Endurance and patience give us the capacity to plod on with joyous, hopeful, and loving determination in spite of disappointments, rejection, persecution, and other pressures that might otherwise cause us to throw in the towel. These two qualities give us the willingness and capacity to continue on because of a hope fixed on God as one who is compassionate and merciful, and on God’s purposes and eternal rewards.

The race God has called us to is tough. This truth is richly illustrated for us in the life of Apostle Paul.  Toward the close of his life, Apostle Paul could make three statements that we should all pray that we will be able to also make.  He made these statements and they were true of him because he saw his life as a drink offering, a sacrifice poured out for the Savior and because he lived with a view of heavenly treasures. 

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  2 Timothy 4:7

God never said it would be easy and we should never expect it to be so. Discipleship is costly. The tendency is to give in, to throw in the towel, but to have fought the good fight is to have continued to fight courageously and bravely regardless of the opposition and the opponents.

God’s power is evidenced in our lives not only in our patience and longsuffering, but also in our joyfulness. When circumstances are difficult, we should exhibit joyful patience; and when people are hard to live with, we should reveal joyful longsuffering. Apostle Paul wanted us to know God’s comfort that we might not only be comforted ourselves, but also be able to comfort others. The goal, however, goes beyond just comfort. The goal is that the Corinthians (and we too) might experience patient endurance. 

But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. 2 Corinthians 1:6 

Naturally, to experience godly endurance or patience, we do need the strength that only God can give, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that this strength is tied in with a joyful and thankful heart. Know these truths from God's word: 

©    Without trials accompanied by steadfastness or endurance, we will not and cannot grow

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
(James. 1:1-4)

©     Endurance means waiting on the Lord in the light of the knowledge of God as revealed in Scripture; it means the enlargement and deepening of our faith

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4)

*        Since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, endurance requires seeking, knowing, and resting in God in the light of His Word

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
  (Romans 10:17; 15:4).

(Biblical Studies)