5 Sources of Endurance
Across every app, I see people counting quarantine days. We’ve been at it a while. So, it seems a good word on endurance would be welcome right about now.
Endurance is the ability to withstand difficulties. Endurance can be defined as the “continuing commitment in the face of difficulty” (Baker Evangelical Dictionary).
Boy oh boy, do we ever have our share of difficulty!
Have we seen “continuing commitment in the face of it”? Well, we’ve heard many inspiring, heroic stories of people enduring extreme situations on the historical world stage. And we also have the witness of those believers in the New Testament who endured spiritually.
When I think of endurance, my mind often goes to the world of sports, because of the intense training athletes undergo in order to compete.
But this new normal requires a different brand of endurance—mental, emotional, and spiritual . . . all at once. Which means we need heaps of it!
So, how is the capacity to endure increased?
Let’s allow Scripture to answer our probing questions. From Scripture, we learn 5 sources of endurance:
#1 – Endurance comes from God.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5).
In Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Rome, he praised God as the Source of their endurance. The limitless storehouse of strength of our all-sufficient, all-powerful God never wanes, weakens, or depletes.
#2 – Endurance comes from Scripture.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Every word recorded on the pages of the Bible teaches and informs faith. In Scripture, we are taught the character of God, the revealed will of God, and His shared plans, purposes and promises. Discovering all He has faithfully done throughout history for His creation helps us to trust Him. That further encourages us to hope.
These—hope and trust—are two key ingredients for our endurance. And both are fruit of faith.
#3 – Endurance is a result of prayer.
“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need” (Colossians 1:11 NLT).
Paul prayed that the Colossians would be strengthened by God’s glorious power and might—so they would have great endurance. He also prayed they would live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way. God’s provision for their endurance is answer to that prayer.
The very growth of the church speaks to God’s grace for their endurance. We would not know the harvest of their mission, had God not faithfully provided for their endurance. Paul’s intercession petitioned God for just such a grace. It is now ours to continue on in that same prayer for the church and disciple-makers everywhere.
#4 – Endurance is inspired by our hope in Jesus Christ.
“We continually 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” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
The Thessalonians were commended for the fruit of their faith, love, and hope. What was the fruit of their hope in Jesus? Endurance!
Hope in our Lord is a compelling life force. Peter aptly defined it as living. I dare say, we cannot flourish without it.
#5 – Endurance is aided by the attitude of the heart.
“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13 NKJ).
The Contemporary English Version states that “sorrow can crush you.” Don’t you find it hard to be strong when your heart is sad and your spirit is crushed?
Discouragement and despair can be hurdles to endurance. But, by the grace of God, you can jump those hurdles! By His strength and the joy of the Spirit, a sorrowful heart, though deeply wounded, is not entirely shattered.
There will be hurdles. It’s unreasonable to expect a smooth course. There may well be stops and starts, and even running in place at times. But keep straining forward, as Paul recommends. Endurance is sometimes won moment by breathless moment.
Remembering the presence and promises of God is the necessary practice that helps to keep from becoming defeated by the nemesis of the heart.
God makes us able to endure . . . and graciously provides for us to do so. He helps us to bear up under the weight of things—for however long that is.
Don’t think you’re lacking. No special knowledge or skill is required to endure, just this: turn to God who is able. Only then can there be no question about your ability to endure.
(For more from Debbra, visit her blog at www.debbrastephens.com.)