Sunday, September 13, 2009

Building Endurance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… (Hebrews 12:1. ESV.)

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9:24. ESV.)

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. (Hebrews 10:36. ESV.)

In any sport, I assume, there comes a point in a workout, practice, game, etc. when the athlete feels completely exhausted. When the muscles are spent, perhaps the body aches, and the athlete feels as though they can push no further. Then, from the sidelines the coach, teacher, instructor, etc. says, “Push it now, just a little more so you can make it even further next time.” Possibly it is at this point the athlete thinks to him or herself, “There’s no way! I can’t go on!”

I have noticed as I walk with God and fight the good fight there are days when I feel so tired, overwhelmed, burnt out, overworked, etc. I begin to doubt I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and I desire to rest, lie still, and catch my breath. I reach my hand toward the ground to catch my body as it falls to the earth because flesh and bones can only go so far. I cry out in pain, “I can’t take anymore!” and yet God has other plans. He directs my steps. His conviction and the Holy Spirit urge me to press onward…to fight through the hurting, the weakness, the fatigue…to push through the tears, the stress, and the labor... to stretch just a bit further, with His grace, to build up endurance.

The following quote is from ASSURED BY GOD: LIVING IN THE FULLNESS OF GOD’S GRACE which was edited by Burk Parsons with a forward by R.C. Sproul.
“We learn to love truly only when we are placed in close quarters with someone who is difficult to love. We learn true joy and peace only when we experience circumstances that in themselves tend to rob us of our joy and peace in the Lord. We learn patience only by being in the continual presence of someone whose actions try our patience. We learn to trust God only when He places us in circumstances in which we are forced to depend on Him. All the admirable traits of Christian character then are formed and grown through the discipline of adversity.”

God's word says,
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews6:17-20. ESV.)
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