1 Timothy 6:11
“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
Endurance is patience, stamina, fortitude, survival, staying power, persistence, resilience, endurance, determination, perseverance… Remember that pursue is to run after, to chase, to follow?
I’m wrapping up this New Year’s Attitude Bible study with some encouragement on endurance. On having stamina, fortitude, determination and resilience.
The apostle Paul did not advocate for something he didn’t practice. In a second letter to his spiritual son Timothy, he wrote:
2 Timothy 3:10-11
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings-what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
If someone could write about endurance, it was Paul. Take a look at some of the things he endured as a minister of the Gospel.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:
- in great endurance
- in troubles, hardships and distresses
- in beatings, imprisonments and riots
- in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger
- in purity, understanding, patience and kindness
- in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love
- in truthful speech and in the power of God
- with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left
- through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report
- genuine, yet regarded as impostors
- known, yet regarded as unknown
- dying, and yet we live on
- beaten, and yet not killed
- sorrowful, yet always rejoicing
- poor, yet making many rich
- having nothing, and yet possessing everything
2 Corinthians 7:5
For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn
- conflicts on the outside
- fears within
1 Corinthians 4:9-13
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena.
- We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men
- We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ!
- We are weak, but you are strong!
- You are honored, we are dishonored!
- To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty
- We are in rags
- We are brutally treated
- We are homeless
- We work hard with our own hands
- When we are cursed, we bless
- When we are persecuted, we endure it
- When we are slandered, we answer kindly
“Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.”
2 Corinthians 11:23-29
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more.
- I have worked much harder
- I have been in prison more frequently
- I have been flogged more severely
- I have been exposed to death again and again
- Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one
- Three times I was beaten with rods
- Once I was stoned
- Three times I was shipwrecked
- I spent a night and a day in the open sea
- I have been constantly on the move
- I have been in danger from rivers
- I have been in danger from bandits
- I have been in danger from my own countrymen
- I have been in danger from Gentiles
- I have been in danger in the city
- I have been in danger in the country
- I have been in danger at sea
- I have been in danger from false brothers
- I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep
- I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food
- I have been cold and naked
“Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?”
2 Corinthians 1:8-11
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.
- We were under great pressure,
- far beyond our ability to endure,
- so that we despaired even of life.
- Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
- He has delivered us from such a deadly peril,
- and he will deliver us.
- On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,
as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
What a resilient servant of God Paul was! You can have the same confidence, in whatever situation you face:
- God has (in the past) delivered you.
- God will deliver you.
- God will continue to deliver you.
Paul had a charge for Timothy, one that I’m passing on to each one of us, to “endure hardship… like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3).
There is a promise for those who “endure.” In Matthew 24:13, Jesus promised: “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.” To stand firm is to endure. Whatever comes our way, let’s purpose to be patient and endure, because “if we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12).
Nothing can bring more joy to one’s heart than thinking about that promise. One day we will reign with Jesus. All troubles and tribulations of this world will be forgotten, and should we have some tears lingering while we arrive at the throne, God will wipe those tears from our eyes (see Revelation 21:4). I can’t wait. Endurance is worth it!