Friday, November 12
What tests your spiritual endurance?
*lack of a job?
*death of a child?
*your spouse’s affair?
*death of someone else?
*a child with an addiction?
*a husband hooked on porn?
*persecution from a loved one?
*the twisted knife in your back from your best friend?
On occasion, many of these strike all at once causing chaos to overwhelm us. Our eyes spill over with the tears of heartache. Discouragement sets in.
David wrote, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again - my Savior and my God!” (Ps. 42:5 NLT)
Who comes to mind as a biblical victor, a spiritual endurer? James wrote, “For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.” James 5:10-11 NLT)
Paul wrote to the Romans, “For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.” (Rom. 15:4 Amp)
I love reading the faith chapter, Hebrews 11. Listed are the names of all those who persevered from Abel to Enoch, Noah, and Abraham…by faith, by faith, by faith. They are those who held to the backside of the cross, having the faith to see what was yet to be. They had no anchor of hope in Christ as we do.
The writer of Hebrews said of Abraham, “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” (Heb. 6:15 NKJV) From the beginning of God’s promise of his son Isaac to Abraham until the time of fulfillment was about twenty five years. Then, Abraham’s faith was tested to the max. When he obeyed to the point of nearly sacrificing his own son, a Ram in the thicket was provided.
He endured. The all endured!
Our faith walk should be like Abraham’s, for he knew God kept His promises, “He drew strength from his faith, and, while giving the glory to God, remained absolutely convinced that God was able to implement His own promise.” (Rom. 4:21 Phillips)
Paul also said of Abraham, “No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God.” (Rom. 4:20 Amp) His words of praise strengthened his faith, connecting Him to God’s power.
And what of Paul? Didn’t he endure horrendous afflictions?
He said, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. These bodies of ours are constantly facing death just as Jesus did; so it is clear to all that it is only the living Christ within [who keeps us safe]. Yes, we live under constant danger to our lives because we serve the Lord, but this gives us constant opportunities to show forth the power of Jesus Christ within our dying bodies.” (2 Cor. 4:8-11TLB)
What is your attitude as you endure your trials? Do you hide in the cellar of doubt and worry or hang out in the attic of praise and gratitude? Do you give up or rest in the power of God? Are you a spiritual victim or victor?
Does Jesus say to you, as He did to Peter when he began to be overwhelmed by the waves, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31b NKJV) Or does He say to you as He did to the woman that came to Him on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire”? (Matt. 15:28 NKJV)
“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, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Heb. 12:1-2a NKJV)
As you look to the Lord in your time of trouble, may He complete and perfect your faith that you may be a spiritual victor.