You Have Need of Endurance

Running

Oxford Dictionary defines endurance as the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. Thayer defines the Greek word that is translated endurance in our English Bibles this way: “not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”

Endurance is a characteristic we must have as Christians. But why is it so important? In this article, we are going to consider a few passages that explain why we need endurance as Christians. In these verses, we will notice a few English words (endurance, patience, perseverance), yet these are all from the same Greek word. So let us consider the reasons why we need endurance.

To Continue Doing God’s Will

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:36).

The Bible teaches that we need endurance, but endurance in doing what? The Hebrew writer indicated that endurance was linked together with doing the will of God. When he said, “When you have done the will of God,” he was referring to the time when our work for God has been completed.

What is the work that God has given us to do? It is what He has commanded us in His word. Through the Scriptures we have received “training in righteousness” and have been “equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When do we complete this work? This does not happen until death. John recorded, “And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, ‘Write, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!”’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them’” (Revelation 14:13). Rest from our labors comes after death. Therefore, we need to have endurance so that we will continue doing the will of God as long as we live here on the earth.

To Bear Fruit

But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance” (Luke 8:15).

In the parable of the sower, only one soil allowed the seed to bear fruit – the honest and good heart. Having this type of heart allows us to hear the word profitably. It will also lead us to “hold…fast” to the word (Luke 8:15). James described the hearing and holding fast to the word in this way: “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:21-22).

What does it mean to bear fruit? It means that something is produced in our service to God. Our service to God will lead us to grow personally, strengthen those around us, teach others, build up the church, and so on. This can only be done as we abide in Christ. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). Abiding in Christ demands obedience. John wrote, “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him” (1 John 3:24). We can “[bear] fruit in every good work” (Colossians 1:10) as we abide in Christ and keep His commandments. Endurance is needed so that we will continue to obey the Lord and bear fruit in our service to God.

To Be Perfect and Complete

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

The result of endurance is that we may be “perfect and complete.” This means that we must endure through trials, continuing to serve the Lord even when there are difficulties in our lives. Yet we are to “consider it all joy,” despite the unpleasant circumstances, because of the end result.

Jesus was perfected through sufferings (Hebrews 2:10). This was necessary in order for Him to fulfill His role as our high priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). We must be willing to suffer as Jesus did. Peter wrote, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2). As Paul told the brethren in Philippi, we must continue to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Therefore, we must have endurance in order to be perfect and complete in Christ as we deal with the trials of this life.

To Develop Character

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).

In the verses above, Paul gave a list of several things in which one would lead to another. He said that tribulation brings perseverance or patience. We already noticed James making the same point (James 1:2-4). Perseverance brings about “proven character.” The idea is that enduring through trials proves who we are. Through endurance we are found to be trustworthy.

Many people will claim to be faithful to the Lord. However, the wise man said, “Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?” (Proverbs 20:6). Peter claimed that he would “never fall away,” yet Jesus knew that he would deny Him that same night (Matthew 26:33-35). It is one thing to claim to have faith in Christ, but endurance proves it. This proof is valuable. Peter wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7). As the wise man said, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth” (Proverbs 22:1). Our “good name” is the reputation we have developed through our actions. This is more valuable than material wealth. Therefore, it is wise for us to have endurance in order to develop character and demonstrate that we are who we claim to be.

To Run the Race Before Us

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

The life of a Christian is a race – not a sprint, but a marathon. This is why we need endurance. As we run this race, we are to look to Jesus: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).

How are we to run this race? We must “run with endurance” (Hebrews 12:1). We must run with diligence. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24). We cannot put forth a half-hearted effort and expect to reach the goal. We must also run in obedience to the rules. Paul told Timothy, “If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5). If we do not obey the Lord, our running will be in vain. Therefore, endurance is needed for us to properly run the race before us and not grow weary and lose heart.

To Receive What Was Promised

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:36).

As we return to the verse from which we started, we see that God offers a reward to motivate us to endure until the end. This reward is “the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15) – eternal life in heaven. We have this hope through Christ: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us” (Hebrews 6:19-20).

We must “show…diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope” and “through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11-12). Jesus said, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). The church in Smyrna was told, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). In the same way, we must be “faithful until death” so that we can receive our reward. So endurance is needed so that we can receive the promised reward of eternal life.

Conclusion

God has given us the opportunity to be saved, but we must have endurance in order to be saved. Starting down the right path and turning back will cause us to be lost: “But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38). The Hebrew writer then said, “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39). We must have enough faith in God and His promises to endure until the end.


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