Endurance is a key part of spiritual health and strength yet most people struggle in the area of endurance. Is there a way to build endurance to work through the trials we face as we follow Jesus? God’s word provides us with all we need to thrive as we follow Jesus and to endure! And I have discovered five essential steps to build endurance based on his word.
We Start Here
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1–2 (ESV)
What does this passage ask us to do? Two things — and the first is the most important because it is what powers the second!
First — Simplify
We must lay aside every weight and sin.
Sin must be dealt with, that is, eliminated — clear and easily acceptable. We cannot play around with sin, it must be gone. We know that God will take away our sin as we place our faith in him.
Also — every weight that keeps us from moving strongly ahead must be dealt with. Distractions must go. Anything that produces a conflict with following Jesus must be abandoned.
Our lives are to have no encumbrances or complications.
We must evaluate every weight by Jesus’ standard not ours. Think about Mary and Martha. When Jesus and his disciples visited. Martha was busy preparing the table and the food — important by our standards. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus — important by Jesus’ standards!
Next to this passage in my Bible I wrote: There are no priorities. We are to have just one priority — run with endurance the race that is set before us. If we have multiple priorities we have not laid aside every weight. Our entire life must be devoted to running the race.
Second — Endure
We must run the race, never stop, never let up. Endurance is easier when you simplify.
Following Jesus all the way means making disciples just as he did, doing kingdom work he’s called you to. It means embracing Jesus as our example.
He is the founder of our faith. Every day, we must look to his life, his example, his teaching, his death and resurrection and his ongoing ministry through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the perfecter of our faith. There was no shortcoming in him and we need to look to no one else. He is the complete picture of what a life of faith is.
He endured shame — death on the cross. It was a criminal’s death, without dignity, public and painful.
Jesus endured these trials with joy because he was focused on the reason for the cross and the glory after the cross.
How do we simplify and endure?
There are five things that you must do in order to simplify and endure. Understand these five things are not one and done — they are part of a continual lifestyle of following Jesus. In other words, you must continually engage in these five things.
This means we completely give up everything that keeps us from endurance. It starts with sin — complete and total repentance means you will no longer follow that way but follow Jesus. You must also repent of attitudes and the busyness and distractions that weigh you down.
Take some time, pray, and discover everything you are doing that is unnecessary and hurting your spiritually. Ask this question: What am I doing that leads me into sin? More questions you can ask at this point: Why am I doing this? Why do I watch this? Why does this seem important?
If you aren’t willing to eliminate, you haven’t really repented. You must get rid of activities that detract, attitudes that hurt, obligations that encumber and possessions that demand. Remember all these things can and will hurt your endurance.
This is hard but you can do it — especially as you make it part of a lifestyle that includes all five steps.
Do the things that strengthen you spiritually. Start with these three:
- Pray. Every prayer you make strengthens your relationship with God. Ask God for help. Worship as you pray. Ask for insight and be sure to pray for others.
- Spend time in the word. Really read your Bible. Study it and hide its words in your heart — memorize scripture.
- Fellowship. Spend quality time with other followers of Jesus. There is great mutual encouragement and accountability with you do this.
Simply help others through this process. By bringing someone along, we stay committed to the process ourselves.
If you want endurance, you must endure! By continually working these five things your endurance will grow and your spiritual health will vastly improve.