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Fight to the Finish

Endure.

I just feel burnt out. I feel stretched thin. I need some time. I’m overextended right now. Work’s not going well. My family is making me crazy. I can’t do all of these things that are being asked of me. The list goes on.

Hey, we all make mistakes and say foolish things. To further complicate our lives, we often don’t know when to say yes and when to say no; we confuse good for God and end up doing too much. While these things may be true, we also need to remind ourselves that we must learn to endure. In fact, it could be that our inability or unwillingness to endure is what draws out all of our complaints and murmurings in the first place.

It is safe to assume that endure is not a buzzword in society today. It’s certainly not a popular catch phrase. Can you imagine a prophet of God standing up on New Year’s Eve and proclaiming, “The word of the Lord for 2009 is Endure!” He would be called a false prophet immediately! Especially since it doesn’t even rhyme!

Webster defines endure like this : 1. to undergo (as a hardship) especially without giving in 2. to regard with acceptance or tolerance 3. to continue in the same state 4. to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” – 2 Tim 2:2-4

Paul was writing his last letter to his spiritual son Timothy. He was encouraging him to hold fast to the gift that was in him and to stay true to God among a church world that was falling into all manner of false religion. He didn’t tell him to avoid hardness or to abstain from difficult tasks. Paul said endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. A soldier! Now I’ve never served in the armed forces, but I have enough sense to know that they don’t coddle you and pamper you. It’s hard. It’s demanding. It’s tough! Maybe we need to learn to be tough when we have to endure.

I’m not saying we lean on the arm of the flesh and trust in our own strength. That’s as foolish as saying I can’t make it; rather I’m saying lean into the Father. Lean into the Grace He has given you. Lean into the Family of God. Find the strength to endure that can only come from the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are praying for change. We are asking God to reveal things to us. We are asking to be trusted with things that are far more precious than silver and gold, and yet we often refuse to endure the process that brings us to God’s ultimate plans. We ask for the Gold Medals of the Kingdom but refuse to train and suffer under the hardships of growth and self-evaluation. We seek the rewards of the treasure but refuse to accept the responsibility of stewardship.

God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Let’s seek Him for a renewed ability to endure, knowing there are great benefits that come with endurance.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. – James 1:2-6a

Q: What is it that you are facing right now that you need strength to endure? Are you crumbling under the weight of it, or are you seeking for strength to overcome it?

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