Have you ever stopped to think about how much of the Bible was written to advance endurance. There are many occasions where inspired penman took the time to write words of encouragement to children of God. Take for instance, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). With all of the problems in Corinth, one can only imagine how that motivated the brethren to “keep on keeping on”. After all, everything that must be endured is worth the effort in the end.
Then there is the time that James wrote, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11). Considering all of the issues with which Job had to deal, it is truly refreshing to know that no matter what comes our way, God has not forsaken us. The idea of being “happy” is another way of describing an individual as blessed. There is no doubt that Job was blessed at the end of his suffering. In fact, his endurance allowed for him to be doubly blessed. “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters” (Job 42:10-13).
The writer of the book of Hebrews also saw the need to encourage. The beginning of the twelfth chapter has been used time and time again to provide a “shot in the arm” to Christians. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2). If Jesus could endure all that He had to suffer, then certainly His followers ought to be able to use His example as motivation to bear whatever ails us.
Also, there are two times that Paul directed explicit commandments of steadfastness. After explaining the truth about “sowing and reaping”, Paul wrote, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9). The brethren in Galatia needed to understand that it is not enough to start the Christian life, one must finish it. The blessings that await in Heaven are only going to be given to those that do not quit. This fact is so important that Paul saw the need not only to instruct the churches of Galatia, but also the church of the Thessalonians. “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing” (2 Thess. 3:13). If there were ever a Christian that was a “poster child” for endurance, then Paul certainly would fit that description. He was not commanding brethren to do something that he was not willing to do himself.
There are absolutely going to be difficulties that we must face as Christians. Paul warned, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). However, we must not allow ourselves to quit on our Lord. We should remember that on the cross, He did not quit on us. Also, we can be grateful that He still has not quit on us today. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). Can we confidently state that no matter what, we will never leave Him, nor forsake Him? I hope that we will “keep on keeping on”, for it will all have been worth it when this life is over (Rev. 21:4).
~ Corey Barnette