Heb. 10:36 For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised.
Last week we began the first of a two-part series on how to endure. Endurance for a believer is a must if you are going to get through the challenges that will come in life. It is also a must if you want to see what God desires for your life come to pass. Walking by faith takes endurance to get where God wants you to go. When we endure we overcome.
There are ten things I am sharing with you to help you endure. The first five we have already covered. They are:
1. You cannot be spiritually lazy.
2. You must develop and maintain your faith.
3. Have scriptures to stand on.
4. Obey God’s Word.
5. Draw strength from the testimony of others.
This week we will cover the remaining 5 things. The first of these is:
6. Lay aside anything that would hinder your progress as a Christian.
Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
Sin would be an obvious hindrance that would hinder our ability to endure and should be dealt with. God has given us the ability to defeat and overcome the power of sin in our life through Jesus Christ. But the apostle here also tells us that we should lay aside every weight that slows us down if we are going to run with endurance. What are these weights that he is talking about?
Simply put, whatever is hindering our walk with God we need to strip that weight off of our life. Far to often believers are unwilling to let go of things that they want when God knows such things are only hindering us not helping us. This could include of course activities, things, and people. Another way to look at it would be a comparison for example to one’s diet. If you are unwilling to lay down eating every day the things that are not good for your health, you are not going to have the energy and strength you need each day. This doesn’t mean we must never eat things we know are not that good for us, but if we are under their control and unwilling to eat healthy foods we should not expect to have the strength we need physically.
When you look at an Olympic athlete for example they learn to address not only the training they need physically, but also just as important their diet. There are certain things for believers that we should never have anything to do with that are only going to keep us from an intimate relationship with God, but there are other things that are not of themselves bad, but we should never be consumed with them to the degree that such things are more important to us than our walk with God. If you want to endure through this race called life you are going to have to lay some things aside.
7. Give Jesus your undivided attention.
Heb. 12:2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Keeping your focus on Jesus is a big help in finding the strength and ability to endure. He is the source of our faith and the One who helps bring our faith to maturity. When you look to Him and keep your focus there, you are not looking at yourself, nor your problems and challenges. I assure you He is a lot better to look at. When we get focused on ourselves this will hinder our ability to endure because we begin to see our limitations as a human and that begins to bring doubt and unbelief.
When we look to our problems in life they can begin to look a lot bigger than we are. All through the Bible you see people who endured by keeping their eyes on God. David was not focused on Goliath, but on his God who had delivered him from the bear and the lion. History tells us that a shepherd would carve such images in their staff after obtaining victory over them, and David was holding up that staff in front of him when he took on Goliath. He declared, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand.” His focus was on the Lord. When you are looking to Him you see His strength and ability, not your inability.
8. Set your mind on things above.
Col. 3:2 Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things.
Col. 3:3 You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Another way to say this is that you need to see things from heavens viewpoint, not the earths. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When you are in the midst of a forest you cannot see the entire forest because the trees are blocking your view. But when you get a different vantage point in life you see things you did not see before. That is what God wants us to do. If we will see things from heavens perspective it will change not only how we view things here on earth, but it will give us a power we did not have before. We have the mind of Christ, which means we have the God-given ability to see things from God’s perspective.
Years ago I was dealing with some challenges and like many crying out to God about them. In the midst of me doing so the Lord spoke to my spirit telling me to stop looking at my situation from the earth’s perspective, but instead, look at what I was dealing with as if I were already in heaven looking back over my life. All of a sudden I realized that what I was dealing with that had seemed to become so overwhelming didn’t any longer seem like such a big deal. This began to bring great strength to keep going forward and as I did of course things changed.
9. Look to Jesus as your example.
Heb. 12:3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.
Another powerful key to endurance is looking to Jesus as the example we have to follow in the footsteps of. Jesus shows us through His life a personal testimony of endurance and how He did so. When you use Him as your example you are walking in a pathway of victory. Jesus when facing going to the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane taught us something very powerful about times of trial. He taught His disciples to watch and pray. He told them they would be tempted to give up on doing God’s will and to overcome those times of temptation (to endure through them) watch and pray.
To watch means to pay attention. The devil comes with deception and schemes to try and get us to quit on God. He will bring false teachers, deceptive thoughts, and the wrong people across our path to try and lead us away from God. If we pray as Jesus taught, we are not going to fall for these works of satan. The key to praying that He was speaking of is simply staying connected to God.
When you truly are close to Him you won’t blame God for destructive works thinking it is all in God’s plan. We are in a fallen world and we will face storms in life, don’t blame God for the storms; He is the strength to overcome them. Jesus did not blame God for what we did as sinners; He simply found strength in the Father to get through what He was faced with. Follow His example.
10. Don’t despise godly discipline.
Heb. 12:11 Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it.
Last but not least don’t reject godly discipline, because even though the flesh doesn’t like not getting its way, you will become stronger spiritually. God’s discipline comes through His Word, the Holy Spirit, our conscience, and godly leadership. He does not discipline us by wreaking havoc with our life; there is a devil who will work to do that. God brings discipline to show us how to become more spiritual so we walk in His enduring power, always triumphing through Christ Jesus.
Endurance is a necessity if you want to obtain what Christ paid for you to walk in and walk out. God gave us the ability to endure. If we walk out what His Word teaches we will endure. As we do then we are going to see what He has promised fulfilled, for those who endure are those who never give up on God nor His ways. In due season you will reap, don’t lose heart, endure!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker