Joyful Endurance

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
Colossians 1:9-12

What's the last hard thing you endured?

Are you enduring something hard right now?

What does endurance feel like for you?

What does your endurance look like to others?

I have this thing when I'm working out where I try to smile or at least have a mild and pleasant look on my face while I exercise. Supposedly this helps boost my mood and help me endure longer. My happy face usually lasts for the first 10 minutes, 15 if it's a good day. Usually around the time I hit the ab machine, I feel like a muscle or two is about to snap in half, and my face reflects that feeling. By the time I'm ready to cool down and stretch, I look like I have murder on the mind.

Do you endure trial with joy?

Is your endurance characterized more by the term "long-suffering" or by "patience"?

If we're honest with ourselves, we don't usually endure with joy. We can endure with a sense of hope or patience for awhile, but if the trial continues long-term, we decide we have a right to complain and feel sorry for ourselves.

Cynicism and self-pity satisfy in the moment, but they rot our hearts when we indulge in them. How can we endure with joy? How can we have that radiant face when the world tries to snuff out our light?

First, we rely on the strength of Christ (v. 12). We are not strong enough, but Christ endured the cross "for the joy set before Him" (Hebrews 12:2). If He endured the wrath of God for the sins of the world and the utter injustice of humanity, He has mighty power. His endurance was not based on what He could make of His circumstances - there was nothing good about that situation. Nothing. But He endured with joy because He knew what would come as a result - our salvation and reunion with God.

When we are faced with incredibly difficult, awful, nothing-good-to-make-of-this kind of circumstances, our only source of joy is Christ. We remember His sacrifice, His joyful endurance, and we take joy that we can be like Him in this - can share in His sufferings (1 Peter 4:13). We know that Christ's suffering was not in vain, and ours will not be wasted because He works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Second, we give thanks to God (v. 12). What if God uses our suffering to show someone who is lost that there is hope, that He is the way? Praise God! That is reason enough to rejoice. That is reason to endure, not with cynicism, but with joy.

We have much reason to give God thanks, both in spite of and because of our suffering.

We are co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), meaning we inherit the Kingdom of God. No other inheritance is worth more. Nothing compares!

We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Our job is to help point people to the hope and joy and salvation we have found! But how can we if we are cynical, pitiful, unhappy people? Can we shine light when we allow the darkness around us to squelch our souls? The only way to battle depression and negative attitudes is through thankfulness.

Satan will use whatever element of our fallen world he can to try to defeat us and make us cynical and depressed. But we have the example of Christ and the power of thankfulness to endure with joy whatever comes our way. We will not be overcome, but we will overcome (1 John 5:4)!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.

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