BARNABAS BULLETIN ~ 0181
THE NEED FOR ENDURANCE
In the Christian life there is a great need for every Christian to learn endurance; to be faithful to the purposes of God in an ongoing way. In the New Testament to “endure” means “to remain, to bear, carry, to be long or patient minded” (Young’s); “to stay, stand fast, continue, abide” (Bullinger’s). In Matthew 10:22 Jesus spoke these words: “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” For the true Christian believer, living in this world demands endurance on our part. Everywhere one looks today the world is contradicting the truth of the Christian Gospel and if we do not keep our focus steadfastly on Jesus Himself, we will find the world and its ways will undermine our faith and pull us down to their level of thinking and understanding. More and more the world today is rising up against true Christianity and many Christians are suffering persecutions of many kinds. The one positive thing about persecution is that it makes the persecuted one decide definitely whether or not their faith in Jesus Christ is worth suffering for; or whether they will compromise and yield to the pressures and expectations of the world (in this regard persecution is good for Christians)!
Many Christians start off their Christian life with great enthusiasm and talk about what great things they are going to accomplish. But as time goes by we often hear of those enthusiasts losing their enthusiasm for the things of God and eventually they are heard of no more.
Nothing will be accomplished in time that will last for all eternity if we do not have endurance.
Christianity (in sporting terminology) is not “a one-hundred metre dash” ~ it is a marathon, a “race” of endurance. It is not the one who starts the race of life that wins the prize, but the one who finishes well. The Bible puts it this way: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain (“win”) it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NKJV).
Endurance is birthed out of a genuine love and commitment to Jesus Christ. That gives us the right motivation to press on in Him, regardless of the circumstances and opposition. Our very own natural flesh can often hinder us from a full commitment to Jesus, because it does not enjoy being ignored, denied or disciplined.
When it comes to Christian Ministry and accomplishing things of eternal value, then it is important that we know the calling and will of God for us personally. If we do not know these things, then it is much easier for us to be “talked out of” the purposes of God – or to listen to some Christian leader telling us that we would be better off doing something else (usually what they would choose for us). Over time we find ourselves getting involved in all kinds of things; yet we are not really producing the fruit that Jesus wants us to. The GFM Ministry has been going for 52 years. It has survived all kinds of “attacks” against it. Yet, because we have stuck to that which we know God has called us to do, we have today a very fruitful and effective ministry that is touching multitudes of lives around the world. You would be surprised at how many Christians have tried to talk us into doing something different over those years.
The Bible talks about producing fruit. Fruit is only produced when the seed “dies to itself” and is planted in the ground. From there it germinates, grows and eventually produces fruit. It is not an instant wonder. It takes time, growth, keeping weed-free, pruning, patience and endurance to come to a place of fruitfulness. So many Christians are unfruitful in their Christian life because they are only living in the now; they want everything to happen today. That kind of thinking does not produce eternal fruit (see John 12:23-26). In Matthew 7:16-20. Jesus taught us that we will be known by our fruits: “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” This statement does not only apply to false prophets. All of us are known to Jesus by our fruits. The big question is:
What are we producing?
Do we have good fruit to show for our walk with Jesus?
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE
Jesus set the example for us. We are called to follow Him, to obey Him, to fulfil His plans and purposes for our lives. But there is a cost, a price to pay: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher ofour faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls . . .” (read Hebrews 12).
We are called to endure: “To keep on keeping on”! To truly follow and obey Jesus Christ is a total commitment of our all. We will be mis-understood, criticized, sometimes rejected, etc. But it is all part of taking up the cross like Jesus did. And that takes endurance. Enduring to the end with Jesus will be more than worth it. Remember, we cannot lose for winning with Jesus ~ when we do things His way. God Bless you ~ Rodney W. Francis.
Prayer: “Dear Lord, in Jesus’ Name I come to You, and ask You to help me to be able to endure whatever is necessary for me to fulfil Your call and purposes for my life. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”