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Endurance

vs. Giving Up
The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best

Key Verse

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Galatians 6:9

The operational definition of endurance is “the inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best.” While your physical strength allows you to do heavy lifting and labor for the strenuous tasks you have, your inner strength enables you to keep going when faced with challenges that cannot be overcome by physical might alone. Such hardships may include a prolonged illness, ridicule by friends, the loss of a loved one, or difficulty focusing on a tiresome task. Though sometimes hard to understand, all that God allows has been filtered through His loving hands for your good and His greater purpose. As Job declared, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

No matter what lies ahead, God gives us the strength required to tackle difficult tasks one step at a time and to accomplish His best.
Waving a white flag is an international symbol of surrender or one’s decision to give up.

The opposite of endurance is giving up. A person gives up when he sees no hope of escaping the difficult circumstances he is going through. He may hang his head in despair or complain as if there are no solutions to his problems. He may burst into tears or become angry because the situation is beyond his control. After trying his best, he is severely exhausted physically and mentally and has little inward strength remaining. At such a point, a lie such as “No one cares!” or “This is not worth it!” seems believable. Rather than turning to the truth in God’s Word or taking such destructive thoughts captive, defeat appears unavoidable, and persevering any longer seems impossible.

Evaluation Questions

  • When faced with adversity, do I try to remove the difficulty, or do I seek to understand God’s purposes in allowing it?
  • Where do I turn for relief when times are stressful?
  • When is hope a wishful thought and when is it a well-founded certainty?
  • Do I rejoice when falsely accused or ridiculed, or do I become defensive and bitter toward those who question my integrity?
  • When I am corrected, do I accept His reproof humbly, or do I become discouraged about living the Christian life?
  • Amid trying times, do I focus my eyes on God’s unfailing promises instead of giving up?
  • Do I live as a soldier in a critical spiritual war or as a civilian in a time of peace and prosperity?
  • Do I understand why finishing well is important?

More About Endurance

“No rock is so hard but that a little wave may beat admission in a thousand years.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Endurance with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:

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Expect difficulties.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” I PETER 4:12–13
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Hold on to hope.

“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 5:3–5
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Remember the reward.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” JAMES 1:12
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Renew my strength.

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” PSALM 27:14
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Keep my eyes on the goal.

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” PROVERBS 4:25–27
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Finish well.

“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I CORINTHIANS 9:26–27
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Refuse to give up.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” ISAIAH 41:10
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Take one step at a time.

“Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” PSALM 25:8–9
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Not let criticism discourage me.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I CORINTHIANS 15:58
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Keep going even though I am tired.

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” ISAIAH 40:29

Endurance in Scripture

Paul’s Final Charge to Timothy

Paul noted in his letter from prison, written to Timothy: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
II TIMOTHY 4:7
During his second missionary journey, the Apostle Paul met Timothy, a young man from Lystra. A loyal friend and follower, Timothy accompanied Paul on many of his travels, eventually becoming the pastor of the church in Ephesus. After Paul was brought to Rome, he faced his first Roman imprisonment, lasting about two years. During his house arrest, Paul continued preaching the Gospel. In A.D. 64, sometime after Paul’s release, a terrible fire destroyed much of Rome. The emperor Nero spitefully blamed Christians for the fire, and great persecution ensued. Soon after, Paul was imprisoned again, this time in a dark, cold dungeon. Awaiting his final trial, he knew the verdict would most likely be execution at the hands of Nero. In this lonely room, Paul penned the words of his last epistle—a letter to his beloved and faithful disciple, Timothy. Did Paul have any regrets as he looked back on his life and knew that the end was near? Zealous for the work of the Gospel and concerned for the churches that he loved, what would Paul urge Timothy to do? What advice would he give the young pastor, likely to face persecution as well, so that he, too, might finish well?

Revealed in Nature

Camel

For centuries, the camel has served as a reliable source of transportation across areas impassable by any other means. From its nose to its hump to its tail, the camel is uniquely designed to withstand the stress of harsh desert conditions that stop most other creatures.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. The study of endurance teaches children that while tribulation is part of the Christian life, God has provided ways for the believer to persevere both outwardly and inwardly to accomplish the purposes He has for them.

View the Endurance booklet sample:

Get the complete Endurance booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Endurance

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“Do not pray for tasks equal to your strength, but for strength equal to your tasks.”
Phillips Brooks
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