Let's recap: In Pt.3, you learned that Jesus didn't have to come to earth to die and that his death makes possible the forgiveness of our sins, with the prospect of perfect life right here in a paradise earth. Today, we'll consider something else Jesus said we must do - ENDURE.
The Bible tells us that not only must we exercise faith in Jesus' ransom sacrifice, but we must also endure (Matthew 23:14; John 3:16, 36*). What does that mean exactly?
One English dictionary describes the word endure as:
1. Carrying on through, despite hardships; undergo or suffer.
2. To continue in existence, last.
3. To suffer patiently without yielding.
"Exercise" and "endurance" then are action words, meaning some sort of action is required on our part (James 1:22; 2:26*). To help you understand, I'll use the example of a professional athlete - Prior to running a race, he'll prepare his body by engaging in some form of exercise and strength-training. He'll eat right, not any high fat junk food mind you, but wholesome grains and protein and he'll probably take some FDA (Food & Drug Administration) approved supplements [pun intended]! He'll make sure to get plenty of rest too so as not to be overly tired. In that way, he'll be able to endure what can sometimes be a long race (eg a marathon). As the race approaches, he'll increase his training activity, giving himself the best possible chance of not only competing in the race, but winning. What happens after the race is over? He might take a short break to allow his body some rest, but he doesn't slack off! He'll analyze his performance/time/endurance and adjust his training schedule and eating habits so he'll be better prepared for the next race and the race after that and so on and so forth. Perhaps after he's won a few prize medals or titles and his body is all worn out or he's just too old to compete anymore, he'll retire from racing altogether. So what must we do to endure? Keep on the watch for Pt.5!
*New World Translation Bible (2013) available to read/download free here
See you next time!