As a good soldier of Christ Jesus you must endure your share of suffering. Soldiers on duty don’t work at outside jobs. They try only to please their commanding officer. No one wins an athletic contest without obeying the rules. 2 Timothy 2:3-5
Unlike most competitions however, running the race in spiritual terms is not to try to be first, but to be faithful and finish! The Christian race is not a competitive event to see who comes in first, but an endurance run to see who finishes faithfully.
Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission, use to hang in his home a plaque with two Hebrew words on it: Ebenezer and JEHOVAH JIREH. The first word means "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." The second word means, "The Lord will see to it or provide." One looked back while the other looked forward. One reminded him of God's faithfulness and the other of God's assurances.
The context of endurance for the Christian is to endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
It was Isaac Watts, the 17th century nonconformist minister who poses several endurance questions that are worth answering today.
1 Am I a soldier of the cross,
A foll'wer of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause
Or blush to speak His name?
2 Must I be carried to the skies
On flow'ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize
And sailed through bloody seas?
3 Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
4 Sure I must fight if I would reign:
Increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy word.
Finally I share the words of Oswald Chambers who said, “Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.”
Mighty God, we count on your promise that you will never leave us nor forsake us during exhausting times of our lives. Our hearts meditates on your word and know that you can never press us beyond our ability to endure. Your grace guides us through it to the end. You are ourw endurance, Lord. Amen.