Hope

Perserverance & Endurance

DirectionsThe other day, I shared a current frustration with someone. They responded that I should not “claim frustration or stress”. I replied that frustration and stress were facts at that point and time, so it wasn’t a matter of claiming anything. She then commented that if she were in my situation she “would not be stressed because she would just let everything go and give it all to God. What is for me is for me. If I keep coming up against adversity, then it’s a sign to me that that thing or situation is not for me and God has something better in store for me.”

I looked at her with a befuddled squint and said, “If I thought like that, I would never have anything. Absolutely everything I have in life has come with adversity. Each situation has strengthened my character and my faith. I don’t give up until God removes me from a situation.”

Long after she walked away, I continued to think about her “advice” and my rejection of it. Then I looked up my favorite verse on perseverance, Romans 5:1-5:

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Here are some more words of encouragement for others who may feel they are nearing the end of their hope and their rope. People in your circle may give you platitudes (empty words) meant to lift you up, but if those words don’t line up with the Word of God, you will soon fall flat again. No where in God’s Word are we told to give up when we are confronted with opposition. No where. But in all things we are to count the cost of our pursuit to make sure it’s something we can sustain and succeed in.

Be blessed. And know that your blessings won’t always look like the next person’s blessings.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”  ~ Luke 22:31-32

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.  ~ James 1:2-4

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  ~ Mark 13:12-13

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  ~ Romans 12:1-2

After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.  ~ Acts 14:21-22

This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:  “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.  ~ Revelation 2:8-10

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”  ~ Revelation 14:12-13

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,

“My child,don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”  ~ Hebrews 12:1-6

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