Facing trials in life right now? Like it or not, you’re growing in endurance. And that’s a good thing.
Endurance can seem so unendurable, can’t it?
When I’m faced with a challenge, I’d rather skip it and move on to a smoother patch of life.
But life doesn’t work that way. And really, I’d be disappointed if it did. What kind of an adventure would life be without any challenges or conflicts?
Last week, the shiny start to my family’s school year wore off. The excitement my children had vanished and complaining and apathy returned.
Homeschooling is challenging enough, but the bad attitudes seemed like it was more than I could endure. (Hello! What child doesn’t complain about school work? It certainly isn’t a new occurrence in my house – or any house. So I’m not sure why it bothered me so much.)
But I was reminded that I needed to endure.
Flab, not fab
The good news is that building endurance isn’t bad. In fact, it’s a great thing. Difficult, yes. But so beneficial.
Without endurance, I can easily get flabby.
- If I don’t endure healthy eating choices and fitness habits, my body gets flabby and weak in a hurry.
- If I don’t endure a housekeeping discipline, my homemaking gets flabby with clutter and dirt.
- If I don’t endure daily spiritual disciplines like time in the Word and prayer, I grow spiritually flabby and my self begins to demand control.
- If I don’t endure in a difficult job, the quality of my work can get flabby, and I may find myself out of work.
- If I don’t endure in relationships, my personal growth can get flabby, if not stunted.
Perfection through endurance
The Bible is clear that endurance and perseverance is desirable. James teaches through James 1:2-4:
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, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
While it may not seem like a comfortable answer, it’s clear that endurance is a by-product of having your faith tested. But that endurance is good – in fact, it will bring about its perfect result.
Without trials, we wouldn’t have an opportunity or reason to endure. And we would end up staying just the way we are – incomplete.
Similarly, Paul teaches in Romans 5:3-5:
We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Again, through trials we learn to endure. That endurance and perseverance builds our character – and our character brings hope. Hope, my friends, does not disappoint.
Useful and fruitful
As yet another reminder to welcome endurance and perseverance, Peter encourages in 2 Peter 1: 4-8:
He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I’d love to be useful and fruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that, I know I need to be diligent to be faithful, seek moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.
As a list maker, I love that this list from Peter serves as a good guide of the qualities I should pursue. And I like how they seem to build on each other – one really can’t exist without the rest.
The precious pearl of perseverance
Because of these promises and the process of perseverance, I want to start to welcome opportunities to endure.
It may not be easy, but now when I’m tempted to complain – or want to quit – I need to examine my thoughts and see what the issue really is. Is something seriously wrong, or do I just need to learn to deal with my annoyance and endure?
As I choose to endure, I need to think of an oyster. Without enduring an ugly, irritating grain of sand, the oyster never would transform it into such a beautiful creation like a pearl.
Just like an oyster’s pearl, the irritation in my life – and in yours! – may turn into beautiful pearls as we endure.
What are you enduring right now? What have you learned through times of endurance?
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