“You, therefore, must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Tim. 1:3
“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13
Every Christian believer would surely testify that it is easier to know the will of God than to do it. We live in a world that is not that very supportive of those who wish to live out God’s will, especially in respect to purity and holy living. And so, those who wish to live a life of obedience to God will ultimately find themselves living perpetually under a high degree of pressure. The pressure, pain and difficulties that we often face in doing God’s will is what the Bible admonishes us to endure. We either endure and do God’s will or we flee the pressure in a bid to find ‘rest’ in a place of compromised living.
2 Timothy 2:3 admonishes us as Christian believers to ‘endure hardship’. Endurance is defined as:
“…the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.”
If we give up or compromise our way out of God’s will, we could never be described as having endured.
Enduring hardship obviously contradicts our natural instincts as humans, which is to flee anything that exposes us to trouble, pressures, pain and shame.
The question though is why must we endure what our natural instinct tells us to flee from? It is important that we know why we need to endure as they ultimately become our reasons for not giving up. Biblical answers include:
i. Because they achieve for us eternal glory – 2 Corinthians 4:16-17:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…”
ii. Because it nurtures us to maturity, leaving us complete and lacking nothing – James 1:4:
“And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” NASB
iii. Because by it we gain the crown of life – James 1:12:
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
iv. Because it produces in us godly character – Romans 5:3-4 (ESV):
“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character…”
And just as there are benefits to our endurance, there are negative consequences to not enduring:
i. We cannot live a life of purity: lack of endurance compels us to accommodate and embrace things we ordinarily should stay away from as children of God and these ultimately leave us unable to attain God’s required standard of purity or holy living.
ii. We cannot live a principled life: lack of endurance pitches us in the middle of things, away from the absolute truth and unable to clearly define what we stand for.
iii. We become hypocrites: inability to endure can leave us preaching one thing and yet living another; not because we do not know the right thing to do but because we lack the courage to live the truth we believe and teach.
iv. We compromise our peace: our inability to endure means that we ultimately end up doing what we know is wrong and a sincere heart will always be troubled by its inability to do the right thing.
v. We compromise our confidence and live without surefootedness: lack of endurance destroys the confidence that we ordinarily should have from defending and living the truth.
vi. We become weakened: Strength and boldness comes when we stand our ground in the truth. Compromise leaves us weak and frail personalities.
vii. We compromise our victory: In Matthew 24:13 Jesus said that those who endure to the end will be saved. This of course implies that those who give up stand the risk of not being saved.
viii. It makes us a man or a woman of sin: lack of endurance means that though we know the right thing to do, nevertheless we refrain from doing it because we cannot endure the pressure, pain or shame of doing what we know to be right. James 4:17 (BSB) states:
“Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do, yet fails to do it, is guilty of sin.”
We have no option but to endure, and that till the end.
A caveat though; it is not all sufferings, troubles and afflictions that we must endure. James 5:13 must be our initial reaction when trouble comes. We must pray earnestly to God, while exercising our God-given authority in Christ to overcome any affliction. But then, having prayed and done all that is needful to overcome it, we must then endure in hope of God’s victory. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV) states:
“We remember … your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Hope in Jesus inspires us to endure; hope in the assurance of our victory obtained through the blood of the new covenant.
How can we overcome the persistent pressure to give in or to give up?
- 2 Corinthians 4:16 – We do not lose heart or as the KJV puts it we faint not.
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day…”
And we know from Isaiah 43:31 that the one way to ensure that we do not faint is to wait on the Lord.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – We resist being swayed by temporary things but rather make decisions based on eternity:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
- Hebrews 12:1 – We make up our mind to run our Christian race with patience:
“…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…”
- Hebrews 12:2 – We imitate Christ by letting the promised reward for those who endure to inspire us never to give up:
“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.”
I pray that God will give to us such dimensions of His grace and power that will enable us to endure and stand firm till the end in Jesus’ precious name!
WORLD REVIVE MINISTRIES