Endurance In Faith
The inner strength to withstand stress and do my best
To practice Endurance I will:
- put my whole heart into everything I do
- accept both instruction and feedback
- no let small obstacles deter me from my bigger goal
- recognize progress in all its forms
- not be a “quitter”
Enduring for the Joy
Hebrews 12:2-4 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (ESV)
Endurance within the context of Hebrews 12 means “to abide under,” signifying “to remain in a place instead of leaving it” or “to stay behind.” We remain, sit in and stay under the weight of hardships and trials. Scripture will often add “patient” before the word endurance, to signify that trials are a time of waiting.
Endurance, however, is not simply waiting out the clock, grumbling about the circumstances and wishing it would end. This is not the example the author of Hebrews gives in the above verse. He points to Christ’s attitude and perspective. Christ endured the cross for the joy set before him. His joy was the end to the separation between man and God the ultimate atonement for our sin. He was willing to endure the shame of being stripped, beaten, spit on, and mocked so that mankind could be brought back to God.
We are also to find joy when we face trials. James 1:2-3, says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” “Joy” in this verse is “akin to the Greek word ‘chairos’ meaning ‘to rejoice’” (Vine’s Dictionary). We are to rejoice in trials. This seems counter intuitive, but the reason for the joy is due to the end result: steadfastness. This “steadfastness” births the gifts of patience, loyalty and an unswerving focus (Vine’s Expository Dictionary; Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) which in turn build our faith and encourage us to continue pursuing the mission God has laid out for us.
Christ’s mind was also set on the mission. He remained focused and unwavering throughout his ministry unto the cross. To endure we too must train our eyes to look toward Christ and train our minds to remain focused. To “fix our eyes” or “looking to” in Greek means “to look away from one thing so as to see another” (Vine’s definition). The Amplified Bible translates verse 2 as, “[looking away from all that will distract and] focusing our eyes on Jesus.” We have to completely remove our focus from the situation or hardship and onto what God has set in front of us to accomplish right now.
One way of finding joy amidst the trial and staying focused, is to examine our thoughts. Where are focusing our attention under hardship? What is the internal monologue reciting? Is it focused on the difficulty, the lack or the uncertainty of your current situation? Philippians 4:8 says “8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” We can look up and see the goodness around us, even within moments of pain and suffering, and it will help spur us on to the finish line.
– Write a G.L.A.D. list (Grateful, Learned, Accomplished, Delighted) at the end of each day. List a few things that you are grateful for, that you learned, accomplished and delighted in.
– Read Hebrews 11. This chapter details many forefathers of faith who faced various trials.
– Turn on worship music to play in the background.