Prayer For Patient Endurance To The End
5 Important Bible Verses About Perseverance
5 Important Bible Verses About PerseveranceJune 1, 2014Jack Wellman
What Bible verses speak plainly about perseverance? What can they teach us about how we can persevere and whether a person is really a Christian or not?
What is Perseverance?
The definition of perseverance means that they have a determined continuation in something with a steady and continued action of belief that occurs over a long period of time amongst and despite especially difficult circumstances.
That seems to fit nicely with the biblical definition of the perseverance of the saints of God who after being saved must endure many trials, tests, tribulations and persecution from non-believers.
They continue steadfast in their faith because their faith is not their own but in God and it is not the strength of their faith that allows them to endure but their faith is only as strong as the Object of their faith and that is Jesus Christ.
Steadfastness Produces Perseverance
There is a lot here. We not only will have to endure “trials of various kinds” but we must “count it all joy.” The one who perseveres knows that “the testing of [their] faith produces steadfastness.” When this “steadfastness [has] its full effect…you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
” None of us are perfect so when we examine the Greek word for “perfect” which is “teleios” we see that it means that our faith is “brought to its end” or “finished” which is what the word complete means in Greek “holokleros” or “complete in all parts” or “whole.” Just as metal is tested by fire and becomes stronger, so too is our faith tested and made stronger.
Those who stand “the test…will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Suffering Produces Perseverance
I must admit that I have my weak moments and feel that I cannot go on so it is very difficult to imagine how we are supposed to “rejoice in our sufferings.” We can rejoice in them if we know that we are secure in the Lord (John 10:28-29) and with the knowledge that our “suffering produces endurance.
” When I was on the track team in high school, there was suffering during training when I got what the trainer called “shin splints.” These are actually tiny, hairline fractures in the bones and they were very painful but the continual running eventually built up the bones and I could endure the suffering because it produced a longer, stronger endurance in me.
This endurance produced character in me to not give up and this endurance that my character had developed through the sufferings gave me hope. It gave me hope that I could endure the mile run and finish because I didn’t give up. My suffering produced my endurance, my endurance produced character and this character created hope in my ability to finish the race.
The same goes with the Christian who suffers. One follows the other by necessity.
Endurance Produces Perseverance
Anytime the word “therefore” is at the beginning of a sentence, we have to ask what is the therefore, there for. In this case, the “therefore” is there because of what preceded it in Hebrews chapter 11 which is what we call “The Hall of Faith.
” This chapter is full of the testimonies of the Old Testament saints who had to endure severe trials but were still able to complete the race and make it across the finish line.
The author of Hebrews portrays our race to the finish line (the kingdom) a runner in stadiums that is full of previous winners, the saints of the Old Testament, who are cheering us on.
In our running, we must imagine seeing the finish line and the cloud of witnesses and see Jesus Who is presently “seated at the right hand of the throne of God” waiting for us. To run a race we must take off every unnecessary weight (things of the world) and every “sin which clings so closely” to us that unless we rid ourselves of these we will be slowed down considerably and the race will take much longer.
Exposing False Teachers Produces Perseverance
Jesus addresses the church or church age of Ephesus. Jesus knows their works, their toil, and their patient endurance since He is the Head of the Church and knows everything about what the church goes through.
Jesus seems to boast about their inability to “bear with those who are evil” by testing “those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” That is a high compliment because this is a church that doesn’t water down the truth.Those “who call themselves apostles are [most certainly] not” because in all of the New Testament it was Jesus Who called the apostles. Not once did a person ever call themselves to be an apostle. They had to have been with Jesus from the beginning up to the time of His resurrection and had to be an eye witness of it.
When they had to find a replacement for Judas Iscariot, they understood that the qualifications were that “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:22-23). The point is that if someone today calls themselves an apostle they could not be possibly qualified to be one and Luke, the author of Acts, knows this as did the other apostles and so apparently did the church at Ephesus. That is because “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42) and the apostles were those who had been with Christ, not those who proclaimed themselves as ones.
We know that all Christians will persevere until the end. They are Christ’s and the Fathers and no one or nothing can snatch them the Father’s or Christ’s hands (John 10:28-29). It is not possible that they would not endure.
If someone claims to be a Christian and later falls away, we can know that they were truly not saved in the first place. John says as much when he wrote that “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.
But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).
Many will profess Christ but since they are not part of the Body of Christ, they are “neglecting to meet together” and are living in disobedience (Heb 10:25) and proving that they do not really believe in Christ.
Tragically, for many, not a few, it is they who will think that they can enter the kingdom but “on that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:22-23). I pray that is not you.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas.
Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon
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A Call to Patient Endurance
Oh, how to be patient.
Waiting. Patience. Endurance. Perseverance. I’ve never been good at those amazing characteristics.
As a young girl, I remember that waiting for Christmas or going to grandma’s house or a Friday night sleepover was tough stuff. I remember counting the days, packing my bag way too soon and thinking about it way too much.
There is waiting for good things. Waiting for something or someone or someplace that you know will be loads of fun, full of memories and exactly what you were hoping for. That child wait, a wait that just knows everything will be good.
How to be patient
As a teen, I remember waiting for Y2K. Anyone else?
This is a different kind of waiting, a waiting for bad things. I was a senior in high school and the whole world was waiting for systems, processes, and programs to horribly crash as soon as the clock struck midnight.
Regardless of what happened, we all just knew it was going to be catastrophic and epic.
The media was hyped up, businesses were gearing up, people were preparing and stockpiling, pastors were predicting… life was almost on hold as everyone held their breath for midnight, December 31, 1999.There are other such moments. Waiting for a hurricane to hit or the latest snowpocolypse to shut down your city. Even worse, waiting for cancer to take someone you love, for dementia to fully steal your parent, for a phone call with bad news, for honestly… the next awful thing.
I’ve learned a lot about waiting in this missions process.
I’ve learned a lot about how to be patient.
I’ve had to learn about trust. and patience. and endurance. and perseverance. Deeper levels than I’ve been before. and I’m sure, deeper levels to come.
I’ve learned to wait for happy moments. The moment we were commissioned. The moment we finally hit 100% budget. The moment we flew to France. The moment I could understand a French conversation. The moment my husband landed in Senegal after 25 years of waiting and preparing to go.
I’ve also realized that there is a lot of waiting for the unknown, waiting for uncomfortable conversations, waiting for the process to work itself out, waiting for another move, waiting for another transition, waiting for more change, for more goodbyes. Waiting through suffering. Waiting through discomfort.
Somehow, in the midst of waiting, endurance and even, patience. Persevering in the face of it all.
Where we live, there is still a sense that we are waiting for terror to hit. We’ve been told we are next in line. Our country is solidly on the list of attacks. There is this waiting for something… we just don’t know what.
As the Church, the state of the world brings us to a very real acknowledgement that the end times are coming. We are seeing the signs of prophecy unfold. We are in the last days… yet, we wait.
We are waiting for the Great Commission to be fulfilled, waiting for the whole world to hear, waiting for everything to be accomplished so our Mighty King can return.
Yet, we wait for God to have His say in the matter, the timing, the process.
Life is full of waiting. Waiting for the good and the bad.And it is a theme that has been following me this month. I can’t get away from the waiting.
I can’t get away from the strong sense to wait. to wait well. to be patient. to endure with perseverance.
And what am I learning?
We don’t always get a say. Imagine that… in our culture today, a culture with a million ways to toss our thoughts into the open world. But the truth is, we don’t always get a say. We shouldn’t always open our mouth. We don’t always have the right to give an opinion or make our wants known. We don’t always have to DO anything. Sometimes, we just have to wait.
This jumped out in the book of Ruth. Naomi tells Ruth, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out.”
In Exodus 14, the Lord tells the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
In Amos 5, it says, “Therefore, the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil.”
“The mere whisper of the Holy Spirit can drown out the thundering noise of the entire world.” David Jeremiah
“The unspoken expectations we have of God only come to light when He graciously ignores them.” Barbara Bancroft
We must persevere. We can’t stop in fear. We must keep living and working and being about His business. We must be deliberate and persevere. All while we wait.
“And now, continue in him so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28
Francis Chan said, “We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.”
Debbie Blue adds, “The path to intimacy with God may be long and complicated.” and I’ll add, full of waiting.
“He has shown you, O Mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
We must remember who fights for us. Who is in charge? Who is in control of the situation? Is our focus on what we want to fight for or what God is doing?
“My shield is God Most High who saves the upright in heart.” Psalm 7:10
“Sometimes I need to focus on the battle God wants to win in me more than the battle I want him to win for me.” Steven Furtick
“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself is the Rock Eternal.” Isaiah 26:4
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His Mighty Power.” Ephesians 6:10
We must remember that God is working… even when we don’t see it.
“Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.” Paula Coelho
“Perhaps it takes a God with all the time in the world… to trust the long view, God must be very patient.” Debbie Blue
“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7
“Our humanity creates a weakness that only faith can overcome… Faith believes he can work in us at the same time he is working through us.” Barbara Bancroft
We can’t let ourselves get angry or stuck in the waiting.
Jonah. Just think about poor Jonah. In chapter 4, it says, “But to Jonah this seemed very wrong and he became angry.” And shortly after God says, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
“As we follow, his Spirit teaches us what we must leave behind for the sake of the gospel and frees us to let go of it.” Barbara Bancroft
“This is what the Lord Almighty says, “Give careful thought to your ways.” Haggai 1:7
We must not give up. We can’t let ourselves be discouraged or overcome in the waiting.
“My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
We must remember what He has already done. Look back over your life and see all He has done.
“Lord, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2
“The Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail.” Zephaniah 3:5
We must remember His promises.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
” Lamentations 3:21-26
We must pray. We can not forget to simply pray while we wait.
“But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” Jude 1:20-21
We must remember that there is a holy call to patient endurance in these last days. We are specifically told 3 times in the book of Revelation to patiently endure.The first time, we are told by the example of John. He says at the very beginning of the book, “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
The second time is after the beast comes the sea. Revelations 13:10 says, “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.”
The third time comes again in the next chapter, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”
We are called to walk these last days, these end times with a patient endurance. We are called to faithfulness. To waiting well. To being good stewards of our time, to following His commands, to letting God do His thing and fight the battle for us.
We are called to wait. To patience. To endurance. To perseverance.
Because in the end, every single knee will bow, every nation will see.
But until that time, we are called to patient endurance.
We wait for God to have His say in the matter, the timing, the process.
How are you learning to wait? What are you feeling about this call to patient endurance? What are you learning in the waiting?
“How Then Shall We Wait?”
October 13, 2015
It had been a stirring Week of Prayer at one of our Adventist colleges. The pastor had preached on end-time events: Jesus was coming soon! In fact, so soon that some parents had to field phone calls from their college offspring along the following lines:
Daughter: “Dad, Jesus is coming back soon. The signs of His coming are fulfilled. It’s just around the corner. I think I should drop my degree program and start knocking on doors.”
Father: “Well, I am so glad that you are enjoying this Week of Prayer. Why would you want to drop everything right now?”
Daughter: “But Dad, this is urgent. We cannot just go on before. Jesus is coming back.”
Father: “I am so thrilled to hear you talk this. However, would you not be able to serve Jesus better when you finish your education degree? Can you think of creative ways of sharing Jesus—even while you are studying?”
Planted solidly in the cities and byways of this world, they represent Jesus’ hands and feet and are committed to serving “the least of these.”We often struggle when we have to wait. “When will I earn my first real paycheck?” ask college students as they enter their senior year.
“When will Christmas come at last?” children inquire impatiently. “When will I get better?” wonder those suffering from a chronic disease.
“Patience is a virtue” goes a saying, and virtues, it seems, are fashion. We live in a world of instant gratification.
Abraham and Sarah had to wait—25 years, to be precise (Gen. 12:4; 21:5). Waiting did not always come easy.
In fact, Ishmael’s birth, 11 years after God’s initial promise, seems to have been a detour that caused much pain for all involved.
Yet Abraham and Sarah waited and waited, and continued to settle in the land that God had promised to give them. many others following them, they lived by faith (Heb. 11:8-12) and trusted God to come through.
He did. And He will do it again on that great day when He finally appears in the clouds of heaven. Revelation 14:12 tells us about the characteristics of God’s end-time people. We know about the faith of Jesus and keeping the commandments.
We do struggle, however, with the “patient endurance” (verse 12; cf. Rev. 13:10) that is part of the core essentials of this group.
They are faithful; they understand about God’s end-time timetable; they believe in God’s prophetic gift; yet their most urgently needed trait, coloring everything else, is patient endurance.
Patience and endurance are intimately linked to faith in Revelation 13:10. Those who discern evil and resist the charms of the beast and its stand-ins are patient and will endure.They will not compromise; yet they will also not hide in monasteries and remote wilderness regions.
Planted solidly in the cities and byways of this world, they represent Jesus’ hands and feet and are committed to serving “the least of these” (Matt. 25:40).
Jesus includes a thought-provoking story in His end-time sermons. Describing a royal judgment scene, He locates a group of sheep on the right and a group of goats on the left of a royal throne room (cf. Matt. 25:31-46).
Clearly Jesus did not want to speak about animal husbandry or the characteristics of sheep or goats.
In Jesus’ story the King, speaking to the righteous on His right, commends them for feeding Him when He was hungry; for providing cool water when He was thirsty; for visiting Him; for clothing Him; for inviting Him.
Jesus sketches the picture so masterfully that as readers we can nearly see the sheepish look on the face of the righteous. “Lord, when did we see you hungry?” (verse 37), they reply. Then the King will answer: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (verse 40).
End-time waiting is active waiting. It involves serving those who are needy and associating with outcasts. It calls us to step our comfort zones and embrace people we normally would not embrace.
Whether in a center of influence in a secular and poor inner city, or in a small and ill-equipped medical clinic in rural Africa; whether in the boardroom of a highly sophisticated educational institution offering Ph.D.
s and master’s degrees or in the backwoods of the countryside, God wants His people to show the world what it means to really wait for His coming.
“We are waiting and watching for the grand and awful scene which will close up this earth’s history,” writes Ellen White.
“But we are not simply to be waiting; we are to be vigilantly working with reference to this solemn event. The living church of God will be waiting, watching, and working.None are to stand in a neutral position. All are to represent Christ in active, earnest effort to save perishing souls.”*
Here is another element of patient end-time endurance: Waiting for the Master to come and take us home is not relying on ringing alarm bells. People around us don’t need fever-pitch excitement and rumors of eye-popping conspiracies.
Scripture confirms the existence of satanic powers bent on deceiving—even the elect (Matt. 24:24).
Persecution, misinformation, distortion, fanaticism, and manipulation are—and have always been—handy tools in the toolbox of God’s archenemy.
Yet, Jesus’ focus in His end-time sermons is upon service and mission. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (verse 14). How encouraging to know that Jesus cannot be surprised.
Planting a Garden
Every day a bus driver had to wait seven minutes at the end of his route in the ugly part of town. Waiting to start his tour again, he noticed an empty lot full of garbage. Plastic bags and junk lay scattered all around.
Day in and day out the bus driver looked at the run-down place. Then one day he made a decision. Something had to be done about this ugly sight. He got his bus and started filling a big garbage bag with debris. Seven minutes later he was on his way again.
This became his daily routine. He would stop, get the bus, and start cleaning.
People in the area noticed the change. Once all the garbage and dirt had been removed, the bus driver brought flower seeds and bags of earth to the lot. He began to plant a garden.People who read about this in the newspaper started to take the bus to the final stop. Some would help the bus driver as he planted and cared for his garden. Others would just enjoy the beautiful sight.
Seven minutes every day were enough to change and inspire an entire community.
Waiting can be disconcerting and demoralizing; it challenges us to the core.
Yet in the midst of our waiting, God wants to give us the patient endurance of His end-time saints. As we wait, we are called to quietly search our hearts, then get to work. Yes, Jesus is coming back soon. Yes, He is looking for a people whose hearts and minds are totally committed. But while we wait, let’s serve Him where we are—with all our heart, our soul, and our strength (Deut. 6:5).
10 Prayers for the Departed and Dearly Missed
Death and dying are parts of life. While some people fear them, others draw inspiration from death.
As nurses, it’s inevitable for us to see some of our patients die and their families deeply grieve for them. Although we can’t bring back their loved ones, there are still ways for us to provide comfort, strength and guidance to the families our patients left behind.
Here are 10 powerful prayers for the departed.
For the recently deceased
In your hands, O Lord,we humbly entrust our brothers and sisters.In this life you embraced them with your tender love;deliver them now from every evil
and bid them eternal rest.
The old order has passed away:welcome them into paradise,where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain,but fullness of peace and joywith your Son and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever.
Prayer for the souls in purgatory
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Prayer for deceased relatives and friends
Almighty Father, source of forgiveness and salvation, grant that our relatives and friends who have passed from this life may, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, come to share your Eternal happiness through Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayers for the deceased for forgiveness and peace and for mourners
Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave Yourself up to death so that all people might be saved and pass from death into a new life. Listen to our prayers; look with love on Your people who mourn and pray for their dead brother/sister.
Lord Jesus, You alone are holy and compassionate; forgive our brother/sister his/her sins.
By dying You opened the gates of life for those who believe in You; do not let Your brother/sister be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give him/her light, joy, and peace in heaven where You live for ever and ever. Amen.
My brother (sister) in faith, I entrust you to God Who created you.May you return to the One Who formed you from the dust of this earth.May Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life.
May Christ Who was crucified for you bring you freedom and peace.May Christ, the Son of God, Who died for you take you into His kingdom.May Christ, the Good Shepherd, give you a place within His flock.May He forgive your sins and keep you among His people.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the sight of God forever. Amen.
I commend you, my dear [name] to almighty God, and entrust you to your Creator.May you rest in the arms of the Lord who formed you from the dust of the earth.May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints welcome you now that you have gone forth from this life.
May Christ who was crucified for you, bring you freedom and peace.May Christ who died for you admit you into his garden of paradise.May Christ, the true Shepherd, embrace you as one of his flock.May he forgive all your sins and set you among those he has chosen.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the vision of God, forever.
Prayer for unexpected death
Heavenly Father we know and believe that our times are in Your hands, but Lord it’s so often such a shock to us when a dear loved one meets with a sudden or unexpected death – through an accident or perhaps due to some unforeseen tragedy, which takes the life of someone they loved – long before it would be expected.
Lord, we bring before You today those who are having to go through such a tragic loss and pray that You would be very close to each one that is in mourning today over such a loss – and are perhaps confused or even angry that such a devastating occurrence has overtaken them – without any apparent warning.
You are the God of all comfort Who comforts us in time of need and we pray that for those that are facing such a difficult trial today. Uphold them we pray, and ask that You draw very close to them … raise up we pray, the right people to minister to them and to be a genuine comfort and support at this time of tragedy and grief.Lord, we don’t understand why our loved ones should suddenly be removed from us through a sudden, unexpected death – but Lord we trust You to soothe away the hurt in time – for shall not the God of all the earth do right…. In Jesus name, we pray,
Prayer for deceased parents
O God, Who has commanded usto honor our father and mother,have compassion in Thy mercy,on the souls of my father and mother;forgive them their sins,and grant that I may see themin the joy of eternal brightness.
Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer after violent death
Father, we bring before You those that have had the devastating experience of having someone close to them that they know and love, suffer a sudden, violent and needless death. Lord how we grieve for those that are having to experience this right now, and we pray that in Your grace You would look down with pity and mercy and meet them right at their point of need.
Lord, You are the one Who was sent to heal the broken-hearted and comfort those that mourn and are heavy-laden.
You are the One Who promised that Your grace is sufficient for every eventuality – even for those having to face the sudden and violent death of someone close to them.
Draw near to them we pray and lift them up into You arms of love and carry them during this time of suffering and grief for You have promised that underneath are Your everlasting arms.
Lord, as we lift up in prayer those that are having to come to terms with the sudden and violent death of a loved one – we pray that You would use this tragedy to be the thing that starts to draw each suffering soul into the tender arms of their Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose name we pray,
Prayer for a deceased brother, relative or friend
You are, O God,quick to pardon and desire man’s salvation.In Your goodness we ask You to grant our deceased brothers,relatives, and friends everlasting happiness.With the help of Blessed Mary ever Virginand all Your saints,
we ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Prayer to say on the day of a person’s death
O God, Whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, we humbly beseech Thee for the soul of Thy servant N…, which Thou hast this day commanded to depart this world, that Thou wouldst not deliver it into the hands of the enemy, nor forget it unto the end, but wouldst command it to be received by the Holy Angels, and conducted to Paradise, its true country; that as in Thee it hath hoped and believed, it may not suffer the pains of hell, but may take possession of eternal joys.
Through Christ our Lord.
See Also: 10 Inspiring Songs To Help With Grief
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Run With Endurance
I have been intrigued by the marathon most of my life.
I remember hearing about the barefoot runner from Ethiopia who won the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome. Then in Tokyo, 40 days after having acute appendicitis, Abebe Bikila also won the 1964 Olympic marathon with another record time!
Stories of tenacity his have made an impression on me, so when my daughter Erica wanted to run a marathon this past May, I decided to run it too. I wanted to cross the marathon off my bucket list!
So why am I writing about this? Because the Bible describes our spiritual life as a race. In essence we are all running a spiritual marathon! And I hope some of the things I experienced while preparing for and running the marathon—and especially the biblical principles they brought to mind—can help us all as we run our races with endurance.
Training and preparation
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 the apostle Paul compares our Christian life with a race. Athletes make a tremendous commitment to give it their all. They train hard and avoid eating or drinking too much. They push themselves and discipline themselves to beat everyone else—since only one is the winner.
Paul is not saying that only one Christian will “win” salvation—just that we should put in as much, if not more, commitment, training, temperance, endurance and self-discipline as these athletes. The ancient Greek athletes received a crown of olive wreaths, but we are promised the most incredible eternal crown—to be kings and priests in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 1:6)!My first step in preparing for the 26.2-mile race was making a commitment to a 17-week training program.
For our spiritual race, we also have to count the cost and commit to God’s training program. This training takes self-discipline. It takes moderation. Prayer, Bible study, meditation, fasting and fellowship are spiritual disciplines that help us grow.
Lay aside every weight
It was also important to me to figure out how to avoid carrying any extra weight. I bought lightweight shoes and socks and chose not to take a water bottle (they have water stations every mile) or even my glasses.
The spiritual analogy is found in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us.”
What are the spiritual weights that make it hard to run? Jesus talked about several of these dangers in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:22.
The deceitfulness of riches can really distract us. The cares of this life can be even harder to control, because we all do have cares and worries and things we have to do. But Jesus showed where our focus should be—on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
What about the sins that ensnare us?
There are many different kinds of traps, and we should study the Bible to be aware of all the devices the devil uses against us. Obeying God keeps us from being entangled in the traps of sin (2 Timothy 2:4-5). Repentance is also necessary for us to escape Satan’s clutches.
Running with endurance
Hebrews 10:35-39 is another key passage to me. God knows we need endurance! It is not easy or fun to develop it, but it has a sure reward. Jesus Christ is coming back, and He will not tarry (even though it can seem He has delayed). We must not draw back or quit! We must endure and finish the race and receive the incredible gift of salvation!
Mike's daughters, Erica and Heather, join him to finish the last mile.
The Bible also tells us the motivation for endurance. Love suffers long—it’s patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). Love endures all things and never fails (verses 7-8). God, who is love personified, has certainly suffered long with us and endured all that we have done against Him. He wants us to become Him. He wants us to endure all things love.
What must we do to endure? In a marathon it is important to set the right pace. There’s a tendency to let the adrenaline that is released at the beginning of the race get you into sprinting and darting around other people. But I know that if I get winded in the first half mile, already struggling for oxygen and fighting muscle cramps, I will have a much harder time enduring to the end.Keeping a constant pace throughout the race becomes a rhythm, a habit, and you don’t have to fight with yourself at every step. Having a regular, daily habit of prayer and Bible study is vital to enduring in our spiritual race.
We need to encourage and be encouraged through regularly attending church and through fellowship with God’s people (Hebrews 10:24-25). The Church and godly fellowship are major gifts from God in helping us to run the race with endurance.
To run the marathon with endurance, I also had to mentally prepare for the hills. The hills of the Christian race are our trials (1 Peter 1:6-9).
Peter describes the mind-set we need to face the fiery trials of life.
We have to recognize that these tests are necessary and that God will help us through them, and that there is an amazingly wonderful finish line ahead—one we can look forward to with “joy inexpressible”!
Jesus Christ is the real key to dealing with the weariness and discouragement. He is our Leader, setting the pace. He has endured everything we have and more.
Hitting the wall
Mike pushed through the wall
An article on Runner’sWorld.com describes “hitting the wall” this way: “You’re in the middle of a run when things start to fall apart. Your legs feel concrete, your breathing grows labored, your strides turn into a shuffle. Negative thoughts flood your mind, and the urge to quit becomes overwhelming.”
I hit the wall at mile 20, and the last 6.2 miles were agonizing.
So, what should we do when we “hit the wall” spiritually?
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Jesus Christ is the real key to dealing with the weariness and discouragement. He is our Leader, setting the pace. He has endured everything we have and more.
Consider His example in Luke 22:39-46. After 3½ years of constant preaching and serving and hardships, marred by verbal attacks, death threats and mocking, Jesus knew that His time of trial was at hand. He knew the vile insults, the vicious beatings and scourgings and the terrible crucifixion He was about to face.
So “He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done’” (Luke 22:41-42).
We also can talk to God in our times of severe trial. He will hear and He cares deeply! Jesus Christ has been through such trials and understands! We must not let “hitting the wall” cause us to avoid talking to God, for in our trials we need the lifeline to Him more than ever.
We must also follow Christ’s example of recommitting to do God’s will—to stick to His plan. We might wish that there were an easier way, but we must look to Jesus, who set the perfect example by fully submitting to the Father’s perfect will.
God is the One who can and will help us up when we fall. He is also the One who will help us when we are weak and weary (Isaiah 40:28-31).
God is the One who will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6).
And God is the One who remembers our commitment and service (Hebrews 6:9-12).
God does not forget our labor of love. He does not give up on us. God is ready and willing to help us when we hit the wall.
The finish line
Erica and Mike prepare for an early-morning start.
Hebrews 12:2 also says that Jesus “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” We also must refocus on the goal, on the finish line.
As I got perhaps a half mile from the end, Erica, who had already finished the marathon, actually came to run that last bit again with me! I didn’t have my glasses on, so I kept asking, “Can you see the finish line yet?”
We also don’t know how soon we will see the finish line, but we must have the vision of that joy firmly in mind to motivate us, as it motivated Jesus Christ (Hebrews 11:13-16; Revelation 21:1-7).Fellow runners, let’s train and prepare well. Let’s endure to the end. And let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our race and our faith.
Then when we cross the finish line, we can hear these wonderful words: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21).
Read more about the steps in the Christian race in our free booklet Change Your Life!