We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
Note from Kip…
I really don’t think that we consider some of the tools that God blesses us with very much. Endurance falls into that generalization. After reading a passage like the one above I find myself internal boost of exuberance followed by some heart felt levity, then I move on.
That’s not what we should do. God is trying to tell us something here (and in like verses) so it behooves us to pay attention.
Our troubles helps us develop endurance. That is almost an exact quote from the passage. Endurance on the other hand developed ‘strength of character’ which leads to strengthening our confidence in our salvation. That hope of salvation, will not disappoint us, because God has given us His Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love.
In other words, an important sequence of events tide to the one thing that Jesus held up as the the two greatest commandments 1) Loving the Lord God with all our mind, body and soul and 2) Loving our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves.
We simply are not going to get there if we don’t come through endurance. To be certain, this is a constant work in progress for us as we live and grow in Grace. But Paul writes about this because it is something that we need to be aware of.
That suffering we are going though, is going to help us do what God calls us to. This endurance isn’t something that we manufacture, but God builds in us through adversity. Our willingness to accept these challenges in an appropriate way, has a massive impact on the growth of endurances, and consequently all that ensues thereafter.
In some translations the word endurance is replaced with persistence. Yes, it is a similar word pretty much interchangeable with endurance.
Let me show you something:
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)
Endurance; persistence is a key element in a successful prayer life. Jesus even taught it in the parable of the widow seeking justice from an unjust judge.
He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged: “There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect man. And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
“For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect man, yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’
Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay to help them? I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”
Luke 18:1-8 (HCSB)
Persistence in prayer is essential if we want to see those prayers brought to fruition in our lives. God does answer prayers. Our persistent requests are heard and God does respond to those requests.
It is said that ‘Prayer changes us’ and that is true but Prayer changes the circumstances as well. it does so when we are persistent in our requests.
Now it is important to note in the parable above, the widow was seeking ‘justice’ and now something that outside of what was good and right. We also are bound by similar restraint to seek that which is in the will of God.
So, problems = endurance. And endurance is something we want to grow, because it helps us grow. In love, in our prayer life, in our witness to others, and in our service to the King.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed.
Romans 8:18-19 (HCSB)
So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.
James 4:17 (HCSB)
Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him
Colossians 1:21-22 (HCSB)