Updated: Feb 15
At some point, we've all thought, “I'm not going to make it.” Perhaps it was a moment when you were in dire straits physically. Or, maybe you just had an inescapable sense of doom. Was the feeling almost overwhelming? If so, most likely, every part of you wanted to quit. But you kept pushing. You refused to give in, give out, or give up. You made a decision, “I am going to make it!” As a result, you endured hardship, pain, betrayal, psychological struggles, and more--until you did, in fact, make it!
Or, at least, you have thus far... As you’ve learned--or you will come to know on the other side of the full manifestation of your struggles--God has plans for those that endure. For instance, spend some time in review of Matthew 24. Jesus promises that if you refuse to be overcome by what the enemy throws at you, then--in the end--you will be saved. Most likely, trials, struggles, and difficulties will fill several chapters of your life. However, keep enduring, and you will be saved in the end!
The problem is that endurance isn't easy. If it were, more people would finish marathons, fewer gym memberships would get canceled from lack of use, and diets wouldn't be more fad than practice. In too many challenging scenarios, fewer people make it than those that do. This unfortunate reality is also why the percentage of failed marriages is higher than the rate of marriages that make it “to the end." (You know, that ‘til death do they part” section of the vows.) A mentoring voice recently reminded me of Paul's writing to his spiritual son, Timothy. The great apostle said something no one would ever want to hear. It is recorded in 2 Timothy chapter 2, “Endure suffering along with me.” He then shared three variations of endurance in life, “Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.” In delivering these three examples, I believe Paul clarified how the enemy attacks our endurance. ENDURANCE. Soldiers must display it during gut-wrenching drills and mentally challenging battlefield scenarios. Along the way, distractions will test them, and the ability to endure without succumbing to preoccupation will determine if the return home is triumphant. The soldier must endure to fulfill the mission!
ENDURANCE. Athletes manage their diets meticulously and train methodically to ensure peak performance. They must overcome the desire to take an easier path, shortcuts, or any number of things that could provoke them to do something that results in disqualification. The athlete must endure to win the trophy!
ENDURANCE. Farmers do not eat nor feed others without mastering this characteristic of perseverance. Storms, winds, and unexpected challenges will come against the fields. Still, successful farmers can never yield to the crop-stealing grasp of discouragement. The farmer must endure to reap the harvest! Which fight to maintain endurance can you most relate to?
The SOLDIER and his DISTRACTION;
The ATHLETE and her DISQUALIFICATION
The FARMER and his DISCOURAGEMENT
Regardless of your battle, you need to know that Paul left Timothy with an incredible promise that was sure to bring completion to his endurance. It can have the same effect on you, “Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.” Think. About. What. I. Am. Saying… The Lord will help you! What a promise. Meditate on it. Dwell on it. Think about it. And be encouraged to endure because the Lord will help you! I invite you to continue exploring these thoughts with me as I share a message from this verse: You're Going to Make It! Greater things are yet to come in your life!
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