Endurance and perseverance

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Endurance and perseverance

Life Today!

©2020 | Bill C. Dotson

“No pain, no gain”

Endurance and perseverance…go hand in hand, in every day of our earthly journey. Endurance is experiencing or surviving pain or hardship. Perseverance refers to continuing in spite of difficulty and lack of success. Neither word provides a tone of comfort or encouragement. The U. of Tennessee track coach years ago coined the phrase “no pain, no gain”. He won many championships with that motto. My football coach would say, “just gut it out”. Sure, easy for you to say!

When I first opened my office in Dallas in 1974, my secretary had a young son about six years old. They wanted him to go to a camp during the summer and they found one in the area managed by the Marines. It was for two weeks. The very first day he arrived, they required each child to write a note to the parents and mail it. She said about three days later she got her first letter. The tone was, “I really do like camp. Thank you”. A day or two later, she gets the second letter. “Dear Mom, I done ‘chained’ my mind. I don’t like camp and I want to come home”. It broke her heart. He stayed and when home, he was glad he went. All’s well that ends well.

Sanctification

As I was reflecting on this story, I was reminded of our walk with the Lord. Having trusted Christ for salvation, we enter into a stage of sanctification. It leads to ultimate glorification when we are in the Lord’s presence for eternity. On the surface, it seems very simple and such a rich blessing. But we must remember that we still occupy sinful flesh, a sinful mind tries to control us, the world is working to transform us and Satan wants us to go to hell. To make matters worse, one of the most poignant messages ever spoken and recorded (The Sermon on the Mount) somewhat concludes with these dire warnings.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” and “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Mt. 5.10a,11a). Blessed?? Jesus, you must be joking! I feel like the six-year-old boy who has gone to camp and can’t go home. What am I to do? Do I grit my teeth and simply endure it or is there another way? Please tell me there is more to the story than these “blessings”.

Jesus later adds fuel to the fire. “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures/perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mt. 24.11-13).

See any resemblance to these warnings and today’s world? How about you? Are you ready to hang it up, cash in your chips, and hope for the best? As a true follower of Christ, he is not saying you might fall away. He will assure that does not happen. But those who do profess their faith in Christ, but do fall away, have revealed they were never a born-again believer.

Our eternal riches

So, what would bring blessing out of suffering for Christ? It’s the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. The last part of vss.10 and 11 reveals our hope. “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven and rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven”. The U.T. athletes endured the pain for the crown of earthly victory. We endure/persevere for an eternal crown. The Spirit speaks through Paul. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4.7,8).

Simply, that is our hope as we face many trials on our earthly sojourn. Embrace the pain, looking solely at the gain!

Article Notes:
Scriptures taken from the ESV

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