The Christian life is not a 100-yard dash; it’s a marathon. It’s easy to begin a marathon well and it’s not too difficult to run a few miles. The test comes over the long haul. Will you endure to the finish? In the Christian race, will you be faithful through all of the hardships, even unto death?
The greek word for endurance here means "to maintain a belief or course of action in the face of opposition, stand one's ground, and to hold out.”
Endurance is ability to keep going. It’s knocking down the walls. It’s a quality that we desperately need.
Without a doubt the Bible demonstrates to us that the Christian life calls for endurance.
• There are times when God calls for us to just keep going
• Often God asks us to live by faith without knowing the future.
• When we don’t have a clear word from God - know that God gives us wisdom in our decisions. No one is saying you should stay in an abusive relationship and live in danger. No one is saying you should stay in a dead end job.
• However, we need to develop the character of endurance.
There are many examples of endurance in the Bible but one man I really admire is a man named Noah.
Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” This phrase, “found favor,” is a great phrase. It’s one of the first instances of the concept of grace throughout the Bible. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
God talks to Noah, and this is really usual, God says, “Noah, I want you to build a boat.” To most of us, that’s not too strange. But back then it was really strange because Noah had not seen a boat before. It had not ever even rained on the earth. God said, “Build a boat, because I am going to send rain, and I am going to destroy the earth. But I am going to save you because you are to get in the boat, Noah.”
So, Noah began to build the boat. The Bible says Noah was 500 years old when he started this project. The ark —450 feet long, 45 feet high, and 75 feet wide. Day in and day out, he was building the boat. It took him 120 years to finish the job. I don’t know about you, but after about 80 or 90 years, I would have been going, “God, come on. I’ve been watching the weather channel. I don’t see any clouds. What’s the deal?” Noah—a man of endurance—he kept going and crashed through the quitting points. Noah endured.
ILL: Marathon runners talk about hitting the wall. There is a point where your body is telling your brain you can’t do this anymore. To complete the marathon you have to endure.
When you think about Noah, it is his endurance that stands out:
• He lived for God when it was unpopular
• He obeyed God even though it didn’t make sense
• He faithfully served God by building a boat for 120 years
• He waited on God for 40 days and nights while it rained – wondering about his future.
• He demonstrated endurance
Today’s Challenge: Whatever you are going through right now, ask God to give you the strength to endure. And remember, this too shall pass.
- What emotions causes people to want to quit and give up?
- Besides Noah, what biblical examples of endurance can you think of?
- Which area of your life right now do you need to exhibit endurance?
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