There are a lot of things in this world and our society that work in direct opposition to the character that Jesus wants to develop in us. Two of the things effected are patience and endurance. I blame the introduction of the music video, which started when I was a teen. Quick images flashing across the screen, ending in 3 or 4 minutes. That began the assault on our mind and from there teens kept getting hit by fast paced, quick changing things. It is easy to endure when you are only facing something for 5 minutes but the things we face for Jesus last much longer than 5 minutes. Of course this notion of the beginning of the assault on us is just my opinion and you are free to disagree with it, but, regardless of what started it, the fact is we are a much less patient and enduring society.
This is a problem because Paul states in Colossians 1 that living a life of patience and endurance pleases Jesus. In fact, it is such a desire that he provides us with the strength for it:
... being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience ... (Colossians 1:11)
How do Christians endure suffering in jails for decades? How do they face torture? How do they stay sane not knowing which day they will be taken out and killed? How do they face abuse every day from their neighbour because of the name of Jesus? They do these things by first making the decision to do it and then by being strengthened by all power according to God's glorious might. It is a partnership where we make the decision and then God backs us up. This is a life that pleases Jesus.
We are going to need to make this decision over the next number of years as the persecution against the Church spreads around the world, including our neighbourhood. The Word tells us it is going to be nasty as this persecution takes root. The only way to prepare ourselves is to live a life of patience and endurance now. We have to live the character of Jesus now and endure anything God gives us to prepare us for the age that is upon us.
Instead of complaining about our situation we must learn to face it with joy. Realize what God is doing and thank him for it. Exercise patience in everything knowing that as we make the decision God is going to back us up. Always realize that any time you face something feeling weak and tired that this is not your true condition. Make the decision and watch how God strengthens you with all power to succeed, especially when you make the decisions not to become weary in doing good.
Too often we allow our emotions and our body to dictate our actions. This is not a life that pleases Jesus. A life that does please him is one that endures every hardship to do his will. It is when we refuse to run away because something is difficult, even if it means facing it for ten, twenty or 100 years. Think of what women must endure to give birth. They suffer a lot for nine months with it ending in a great burst of pain. Yet, they know what it is achieving and they always say it was worth the pain.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
He endured a lot of abuse for the name of Jesus but he never gave up so that at the end of his days he was able to say:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
I wonder if we will be able to say the same in the age that is knocking on our door.
I encourage you, no matter the cost of this thing we do for Jesus, trust him to provide the power you need to stand up under it. You make the decision and Jesus will back you up. Don't be afraid of the insults and abuse. Don't run away when the enemy shows his ugly face. Stand the ground you have been given. Equip yourself with the full armour of God and know that he will strengthen your resolve. Always remember that our reward is not in anything temporary in this temporary place but is etched in eternity and is waiting for us with Jesus. We do not find our value in anything in this world, but only in the one we want to live our life to please. Be patient and enduring in all that you face for Jesus and it will please him.