Why is it when I hear the word “endurance”, I think of the sun beating down upon hot pavement, sweat dripping from every pore, sore muscles, aching lungs and the constant barrage of thoughts…am I almost there, where is the finish line?! Now whether I’ve seen too many Nike commercials or listened to too many marathon stories, I’m unsure. All I know is, it is seemingly possible for me to equate “endurance” with painful, personal discipline and the length of time it takes to accomplish something great.
However, my limited knowledge of endurance may not be accurate. For after all, don’t each of us have a mind or will to endure certain circumstances in order to see a desired goal? For some it may be a gold medal, for some weight loss, for some a promotion, for some recognition, and so on. When our minds and wills have a desired outcome we often forego the lingering thoughts of painful, personal discipline and the length of time it takes to accomplish that goal. In addition, what we set our minds to do actually becomes a part of who we are.
As I read Hebrews chapter 12, I contemplated which road I would choose? Will I see these examples of endurance as a painful, personal discipline or will I forego those thoughts and joyfully pursue the principles with an expected outcome in mind?
Before I choose, let’s take a look at the examples of endurance.
Hebrews 12:1-3 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, 2 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. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Hebrews 12:6-7 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Crosses, contradictions and chastening? None of that sounds like a pleasant path! How can I forego what sounds like the pain of my original interpretation of endurance in order to joyfully pursue the principles of endurance with an expected outcome in mind?
When I look to Jesus! When we look to Jesus, lay down our will and take up our cross, it ensures the perfecting of our faith! When we look to Jesus as we endure the contradiction of others, it allows us to reach out to those who are broken without offense! When we endure the chastening of our heavenly Father, we can partake in His holiness and bear the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Does fierce faith, bold outreach, holiness and bearing fruit sound like an outcome you want to see in your life? COUNT ME IN! Remember, there’s NO PATH too hard, when we keep our eyes on JESUS! We must remember, what we set our minds and wills to do, becomes who we are! Let’s choose to be a little more like Jesus! Endure your cross! Endure contradictions! Endure chastening! That path isn’t too hard!