Have you ever waited for something you really wanted and in the middle of the wait you decided it was taking too long and you bolted? Maybe you've gone through a hardship and decided to leave because you felt you didn't need to deal with it. I know of several times in my life I've done just that. Waiting is a hard thing to do, especially when you don't see any results of your waiting. Waiting requires endurance. Endurance shows our character. How do we respond in hardships? What is the first thing you do when you are tried or tested? Do you whine and complain about the situation you are in? Is the first thing in your heart anger towards God for letting the trial come?
Take a ring, or a small item like a pebble, and place it in one of your hands. Curve your fingers around it as if you were making a loose fist. You are the ring or pebble and God is your hand. Nothing comes to the ring/pebble without His hand allowing it to come. Often times we don't understand why we have to go through hardship. We can find in the epistle of James some answers.
James 1:2 4 (HCSB)
"Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."
How can we consider a trial a "joy?" In order to really understand these verses we have to look deeper than the first few words. We can see that trials test our faith. It would be one thing if God created us all to be robots walking around on this earth just doing the commands He programs in our memory. We wouldn't need faith for that. But, God created us with our own free-will and this allows us to make choices. These choices can be good or bad. God wants us to see and know what we believe. He wants us to call on Him for help and guidance. He wants us to see our need for Him. The more we need God, the more our faith builds up in us! In other words, when we call out to God in our need, and He answers, our faith is built up. Even when we wait for the answer, this builds our faith. There is power in waiting. I like how the Bible in basic English puts it:
Romans 5:3 5 (BBC)
"And not only so, but let us have joy in our troubles: in the knowledge that trouble gives us the power of waiting; And waiting gives experience; and experience, hope: And hope does not put to shame; because our hearts are full of the love of God through the Holy Spirit which is given to us."
The "power of waiting" is endurance. It is patience. Whenever we have to wait for something, we have to endure. Be it a little thing like waiting in line at a store, or a big thing like waiting for God to answer our prayers; it requires endurance. We know that "good things come to those that wait." I am not sure where that saying originated from, but it is true when it comes to endurance. We are given a reward for our endurance.
We can see in James 1:2 - 4 that the testing of our faith produces endurance. Endurance and patience are interchangeable. They both mean each other. God wants us to become mature sons and daughters. He doesn't want us to stay young in our thinking and in our reactions. When we were just learning to walk and talk, the first thing out of our mouth was, "MINE!" Baby's are born selfish. They cry when they need changing, they get angry when they don't get fed on time. You never have to teach a baby to be stingy. But you always have to teach them how to share, play nicely with others, and to think of others more than themselves. This is in the natural and it is the same for the spiritual.
When we first become a Christian and ask Christ into our heart as Lord and Savior, we are babies. We have to learn how to walk in the Lord. We have to learn God's will instead of our will. We have to learn endurance.
Endurance means (Strong's #5281): "Constancy, perseverance, continuance, bearing up, patient endurance. It is the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances, not with a passive complacency, but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness, and defeat."
Hebrew 10:36 (NKJV)
"For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise."
There is always a reward for enduring. I teach guitar to many students. The biggest complaint is that it is hard work to play the guitar. They have to practice throughout the week to be able to come back to me and have a lesson to progress into the next lesson and eventually to be a good guitarist. Some of my students were expecting to just pick up the guitar and be able to play. This never happens. A great guitarist has many many years of practice behind them and it show with the reward of playing the guitar well. This is a small example of endurance, but I think you get the idea.
What are you going through right now? Do you have what it takes to endure?
We have to remember it is not what we go through, but how we go through it. Often I find myself in a circumstance I hate being in. Ultimately, my character, and what I am really made of, comes to the surface.
God wants you to see your character and respond accordingly. We have to remember who we are in Christ. We are warriors! We are overcomers! We have resources to grab a hold of inside of us to help us stand as we go through the fire. But just think of the silver that is coming out in the middle of this refining fire process in your life! God gives you grace to endure. Endurance is staying even under pressure. Endurance is the ability or power to bear prolonged exertion, pain, or hardship. It is the active, energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance. This will bring spiritual maturity, and we won't bolt again!
I have a bracelet that says, "Endurance" on it and I wear it whenever I need to remind myself to endure and not bolt. Find something you can do to remind yourself to "keep on keeping on" when the going gets hard. We are over comers and we will endure and become mature, lacking nothing in Christ!
Pastor Kris Belfils
Kris Belfils is an Author, Pastor, Singer/Songwriter, Speaker, and Worship Leader. She has a passion to see people transformed and set free. Her newest book, "The Garbage Man Always Comes On Fridays," is a powerful tool to help others overcome their past. www.krisbelfils.com
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