I love endurance – that is, in the fitness world. However, when I read of endurance in the Bible, I cringe. Here’s an example:
“because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:3-4
In part 1 of this 2-part series, we talked about exercising our faith. This is no different. In fact, by exercising our faith we are building our endurance.
But why build our Biblical endurance at all? Because life is hard and predicaments are always around the corner. We are not promised a life of ease. On the contrary, look at the examples of Joseph, Moses, Jeremiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul, etc – their lives were far from painless. Yet, time and again, each one faced their trials with faith. They endured.
Hebrews 11 – often characterized as the Hall of Faith – is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible; it is so inspirational. Let’s briefly look at two of those mentioned:
- Noah – The Lord told Noah that he was displeased with the world so He was going to destroy it. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8).” Therefore, God instructed Noah to build an ark. Ever faithful, Noah did as the Lord commanded, even though the world had never seen a flood, let alone one that would destroy all the earth. I’m sure he was ridiculed for all the time and effort he put into constructing something so huge and so seemingly unnecessary. When the ark was complete he then was instructed by the Lord to enter it before the rain even began. That is faithful obedience!* (To read Noah’s story, click on this link: Genesis 6:9-Genesis 9:17.)
- Abraham – Abraham’s story of faith…wow! Not only did Abraham obey when God called him to move to a foreign land, but he also was prepared to follow though when God called him to sacrifice his only son – the one that through faith he waited 25 years to get. Abraham’s enduring obedience wasn’t perfect – read the story of Sarah and Hagar in Genesis 16 & 17 – but God knew Abraham’s heart and continued to count him righteous. (Abraham’s story begins in Genesis 12; Hebrews 11:8-22 is a good summary.)
How do these examples help us in our endurance? We learn that their faith was boundless. How do we develop such faith and endure our times of trial? This is what I have found to help me:
- Prayer – We are instructed to pray over and over, throughout the Bible.
- Read the Bible – To me, the Old Testament is full of God’s sovereingty and power, reminding me that God is BIG and AWESOME. The New Testament, on the other hand, is full of God’s grace and teaches me how to live out my faith in my daily actions.
- Memorize – A few months ago I was asked if I committed verses to memory. I hadn’t at that point so this woman of wisdom shared with me how it helped arm her for battle. She explained that having verses committed to memory allows us to fight for Truth in our thoughts more effectively. So, as I read the Bible I make note of the verses that bring me comfort and try to memorize them (I started with 1 a week).
- Listen – I find that when I’m overwhelmed I like to do “mindless” activities like putting a puzzle together or coloring in an adult coloring book. To help turn 0ff the negative spin in my mind I listen to sermons via podcasts or online. This has become very helpful in redirecting my outlook.
What helps you endure? How do you build faith in your life? Leave me a note in the comments below. For now, though, I ask you join me in accepting Biblical endurance – exercising our faith – so that we may be found complete when Jesus comes or calls us home.
Let’s lean on one another,
*In my original post, I had described Noah building an ark in the middle of a desert. I was appropriately corrected and wanted to note that correction here.