Endurance is experiencing the power of God’s love by rejoicing in trials and tribulations.
Endurance is associated with the physical stamina required for a race. However, the character quality of endurance is much deeper than physical stamina. It includes the strength that comes by rejoicing in the reproaches that come as we follow the ways of God.
Kakopatheo, “to undergo hardship,” and anechomai, “to hold oneself up against, i.e. (fig.) to put up with” are both translated in the New Testament as endure. Hupomeno, also rendered endure, means “to stay under (behind), i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere.”
To endure is to tenaciously hold on until a goal is accomplished. Jacob clung to the angel and declared, “I will not let you go until you bless me!” God not only blessed him but affirmed, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).
What Are We to Endure?
The following passages explain the types of trials we are to endure:
Endure hardness—“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3).
Endure afflictions—“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (II Timothy 4:5).
Endure persecutions and tribulations—“… That ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer” (II Thessalonians 1:5).
Endure undeserved suffering—“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (I Peter 2:19).
Endure chastening—“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:7).
Endure temptations—“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).
Endure all things—“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Timothy 2:10).
How Do We Endure?
Endurance is based on hope. A runner will endure rigorous and painful training because of the hope that he will win the race. Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame associated with it for the joy of knowing that His death would conquer Satan and bring redemption to mankind for all eternity. (See Hebrews 12:2.) The believer’s hope is that by enduring trials he will experience a greater measure of spiritual power in this life, as well as rewards in heaven.
How Does Truth Motivate Endurance?
Truth sets us free from the destructive attitudes and influences that diminish endurance. When trials and temptations come, we are to meet and endure them with the following four responses:
Thank God for each trial.
We can be thankful for all things, because all things come from the hand of God. They are for our benefit and can teach us character. They also “work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). Job endured a great affliction, and he understood this important point: “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
Rejoice in all things.
Once we recognize the benefits that God intends through our trials, we can rejoice in them. If we lack wisdom to discern these benefits, we can ask God for it and He will give it to us. (See James 1:5.)
Cry out when necessary.
Some situations cannot or should not be endured and require us to cry out to God for deliverance. “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).
Overcome by doing good.
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
- Do you live as a soldier who is in the most critical spiritual war ever waged, or as a civilian in a time of peace, prosperity, and pleasure?
- Do you rejoice when rejected by those who do not follow the ways of God, or do you complain that you have to suffer because of your identification with God?
- Do you rejoice in being falsely accused and blamed for things you did not do, or do you become reactionary, defensive, and bitter toward those who question your integrity?
- Do you accept God’s chastening for things you have done wrong, or do you become discouraged and want to give up on the Christian life?
- Do you resist temptation and bring every thought into captivity, or do you easily surrender to the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the mind?