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Adding Endurance to Self Control

October 9, 2009

“And beside this giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)

runners and crossThere are two words used in the Bible to talk about patience. The word Peter uses in 2 Peter 1:6 refers to endurance in the middle of difficult trials. We need to add to our faith the ability to continue on in the midst of problems that we don’t think that we can bear up under. It is no difficulty to plug away for the Lord when things are going very well. The need is to continue to serve when everyone and everything seems to be against you. However, the Bible is very clear those are the times when God expects us to continue on. Proverbs 24:10 says, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”  Romans 5, James 1, Matthew 5 and 1 Peter 3 all indicate that trials are not bad, they are just difficult. Sometimes we have the American mindset of ease about our walk with God. We expect everything to be relatively easy and simple, yet God has made no promises to us that life will be always easy. In fact, God has told us to expect persecution if we will live Godly.

It is in the times of great testing that we learn the most. It is in the times when we look around and say, “God, what are you doing to me?” that we can learn even more about our faults and how we need to improve in Christlikeness. The Psalmist said in Psalm 139, “search me O God, try me” David is praying for adversity because he realized the great benefit it provides to his growth in Christ.  So we must cultivate in our life the ability to stick it out and to continue to endure even though the circumstances seem to be so difficult we don’t think we can handle it. Bailing out doesn’t teach us anything. Sticking it out until the end gives us experience of God’s grace and power. Experiences produces the expectation that God will work again in future situations. The expectation of God’s intervention makes us bold for Christ. Consider Paul, he tells us in 2 Corinthians of his trials, “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” At the end of his ministry and its many intense trials he told Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Can you look back at your life right now and say that you have kept the faith and finished your course? Can you look at the trials you have gone through and say that you have stuck to it even in the darkest times? Can you say that you have been faithful, even when everything seemed blackest?

Let me conclude this topic with a little bit of comfort. Psalm 23 gives us the wonderful promise, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” We never go through trials alone, we always have a loving shepherd to comfort and guide us, He is always with us. Remember the incredible promise in Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

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