For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Heb 10:36
The topic of endurance came up in my daily reading this week, and as a runner the topic strikes a chord with me. We are said to be in need of a spiritual endurance, and like running, that endurance doesn’t just come in one day. It takes time and training. I was really thinking through this the other morning, and thought to myself, how do we build that endurance? Time and training – what does that really mean? So bear with me here as I work this out…
Proper training – we need experienced people who have the right information to help guide us. This means we need to have a pastor who is steeped in the Word, knows it well, and presents it to us unashamedly. We need Bible study leaders who are strong in their faith and understanding of the word. We need brothers and sisters of faith who challenge us, encourage us, hold us accountable. And then when we get that truth, we need to actively apply it to our lives. We can listen all we want to the running coaches, but if we never get up and move – nothing will change.
Consistency – Training is not good for much if you don’t apply it and apply it consistently. Endurance is built up over time, and it builds upon itself. It’s hard to endure hardships when you’ve stopped and started, stopped and started building your endurance. Instead, that stop-start pattern actually leaves you pretty stagnant. I’ve experienced this in my running as well as my spiritual life.
With the right guidance, and the consistency of action (prayer, study, service, worship), spiritual endurance blossoms. A steady determination and perseverance grows and flourishes. It is an active process that enables you to face the challenge of the race of life.
Endurance is that point when you have the strength and determination to keep going even when you want to stop. It’s the will to put one foot in front of the other when the temptations threaten to lure you off the path.
The weary runner needs to focus and press onward in a straight path watching carefully so they do not injure themselves before the race has ended. Endurance is that focus, that determination, that strength to get you through the challenges and on to your second wind. I love the imagery from Hebrews 12 that illustrates this so well. Any runner will understand the slackening arms/hands, and the wobbly knees, and the need to stay strong…
Therefore, strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Heb. 12:12-13
Cross-posted at Jolene’s Journey.