But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matt 24:13
Have you ever thought about the word endure in this verse, and how it relates to the life of believers? It is a word that is often tossed around in church circles, especially when one is not having a “perfect” day. But this passage is not talking about mornings where the car won’t start or the baby spread food all over the living room. Those are examples of natural frustrations, and we would all love it if those were the only kinds of things we had to endure. But endurance from earth to glory, for the believer, is much much deeper than that!
The Hebrew word translated “endure” in this passage is ὑπομένω — hupomenō (pronounced hoop-om-en’-o. It means
These definitions place what Christ was telling us in a much brighter light! Endurance. Enduring this life is no joke. Some of us APPEAR to have things easier, but if one could look behind the scenes the truth of the matter would be made very clear.
Some of us are enduring mentally, some physically and/or spiritually. Others have family turmoil, job persecution etc… because of their faith. Many others are living in family circumstances that constantly keep trouble brewing 24 hours a day. Still others are virtually alone, having no one that can lend a sympathetic/empathetic ear. In other areas of the world believers are literally staring death in the face because of their unwavering faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. These days the battle against believers is raging, and will continue to increase for the body of Christ in America who has become soft and comfortable. Endure….
Endurance has nothing to do with the normal frustrations of life. It has nothing to do with having to eat chicken while wanting steak. It has nothing to do with not having the amount of money you want, your favorite car to drive, or a house bigger than deacon Jones’. Endure.
Can you endure when everything in your life comes crashing down on your head at the same time, and it feels like God has abandoned you? Can you endure the onslaught against your mind, along with family pressures, turmoil on the job etc…? Endure.
Can you endure friends turning their backs on you without explanation or cause, family ostracizing you because you don’t “measure up?” Can you hold on to Jesus when you are walking through fire, and your fellow believers offer criticism over encouragement? Can you endure?!
Can you endure living in this present day, when it is so difficult to find a church “family” of likeminded believers? When you aren’t free to voice what you believe because so many veer from sound doctrine – sometimes when attending the exact same church? These days there are many believers who are in the business of dashing the hopes of the saints. Can you endure, hold on to the Lord’s promises when people are twisting truth and trying to eradicate it at every turn? Sometimes church can feel like the loneliest place to be, because the fellowship of the saints is just not there. Can you endure when you have to walk this journey alone? Endure.
We are fast approaching the time when, in North America, being a Christian could very well be openly outlawed. Will you be able to stand for Christ in the midst of heavy persecution from the government, coworkers, family and fellow church members? Have you developed a mind to stand for Christ come what may, to endure until the end? Endure. These are serious questions to ponder, and ones every believer must answer. If we intend to endure on this journey then we must do so with committed resolution.
I get it. I am human just like you. We do not like to suffer! It doesn’t feel good; it hurts. If it lasts too long it can throw us into chaos mentally and physically. Suffering is not what anyone in their right mind desires. But Jesus would not have said we must endure if our path was always going to be full of lemonade and sunshine. No! The Lord knew that our journey home would be arduous, and have its share of pain and sorrow. The fact of the matter is suffering is necessary, but God does not waste the suffering of is people (trust me; I know how that sounds and how difficult it might be to hear at the moment). It builds our strength, helps us lay aside every weight and besetting sin, it provides understanding and compassion for the plight of others; suffering helps us become more like Christ.
A CLEARER VIEW
As I was turning this topic over in my mind, I began thinking about my own life a little bit. I have experienced much in my 46 years on this earth.
That’s just a glimpse at my story. Today I can now see blessings from it; although it has not always been the case. I have learned much you see, and developed strength that I didn’t know I would need.
From all of these experiences I have learned how to keep pushing forward, to last – to endure. I am not driven by the desire for the so-called “American Dream.” And my heart doesn’t long to store up treasures here on earth. I realize that this life is not without trouble and, because of God I can/will survive even though situations feel like they will take me out. I can see how God has always taken care of me, especially when I was most forgotten and alone.
The way of a believer comes complete with suffering; suffering in various forms and time frames.
I know of people who have had repeated bouts with cancer, children who seemed to get worse the more their parents prayed, or parents who have suffered the repeated heartbreak of multiple miscarriages. Come to think of it, the testimonies behind some of the most poignant hymns were written during some of the most horrendous hardships one can imagine. One hymn, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, was written by a Christian martyr in India. He sang it as each member of his family was murdered before his eyes because they refused to renounce Christ; he continued singing until death silenced him. Suffering but enduring to the end!My trouble may not look like your trouble, but that doesn’t mean our battles are any less difficult to personally trek through. Click To Tweet
Through suffering comes, or should come, the development of love and patience for the other pilgrims traveling through this wicked world. Through all that I have endured I can see how God has used/is using it to give me understanding and compassion for others. I hold on to that, especially when it feels like what I have to offer is rejected or not good enough.
Get an understanding that endurance is not for the faint of heart. It has nothing to do with the soft surface waves of life. Endurance is what you must have to fight through the strong undercurrent that others cannot see. It is what it takes to climb over the jagged terrain of this mountainous travel on the King’s Highway. It is being able to keep going when you are alone and others cannot or do not desire to understand. It is being able to confess and give up anger at God when others get their breakthroughs/healings etc…and we are standing on the sidelines seemingly forgotten or denied the miracle we so desperately need. Endurance is being determined to hold on to what God has said, even when His timing doesn’t match ours.
Very soon believers, true followers of Christ here are going to need one another more than ever before. If we have not yet learned what is important, if our focus remains self-centered and shallow, we will not be of any strength/encouragement to our brothers and sisters.
I will be honest, when I read Scripture I see that we are supposed to help one another endure. Sadly, much of what I see is not helpful at all.There is no way we are going to endure our journey from earth to glory by trampling on the family of God. Click To Tweet
Ask the Lord to develop love and compassion in your heart for others. To give you empathy for those who are seriously walking wounded. Love others enough to pray for them and not talk about them, understanding if it were not for God’s grace you could be where they are.
We all need to prepare to endure. We won’t have endurance because we quote a Scripture or toss the word around in our Christian conversations. Endurance comes with preparation, the training of your heart and mind. It comes with an unwavering mind to stick with Christ come what may. The ability to endure from earth to glory is obtained through suffering things small and great.
Can you endure?
Can you endure patiently?
Can you maintain your position in the face of great opposition?
Can you persevere in the face of ill-treatment, persecution and/or the heavy misfortunes of life?
I pray that we all can and will.
Live your life with the mindset that enduring is your only option. The reward is beyond worth it! So hang in there!
For more encouragement in this area, take a look at these beneficial posts from Melinda V. Inman
And Melissa McLaughlin
I am participating in the following linkups. Check them out to find more food for your faith!
Until next time,
Let’s hear some chatter out there!
What are you thoughts on endurance?
Have you been able to look back on suffering and see how it has helped to build your endurance?