We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Kelly Bryant.
“5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.“
When the topic of “endurance” has to do with a physical event, you can wrap your mind around how to get through it. When you agree to do a long hero workout or sign up to run a marathon, there is a defined measurement of how much work you need to do to get the job done. You can plan for it. You can train for it. You can fuel your body and work on your mindset. But what about when the test of endurance comes in the form of a difficult person or a strained relationship? How can you endure when you don’t know how long the test will last or if it will ever get better? Often when we face these tests, we are unprepared and unsure what to do.
Here are a few lessons we can learn from Jesus:
1. Trust God’s plan. Patience and endurance are gifts from God. (Romans 15:5) Gifts from God are always good, but they’re not always delivered through our preferred method. It would be easy if we were all born with patient, long-suffering spirits, but for most of us, we learn endurance through having the bounds of our patience stretched and molded (often uncomfortably) into what God made us to be.
In Matthew 26:39, Jesus cried out to God the Father to take the cup (the suffering of his death) away from him. Jesus then went on to ask that God’s will be done, even though it meant his suffering, because he trusted God’s ultimate plan. God isn’t the cause of our sin and suffering, but he has the power to turn our pain into something beautiful when we trust him to walk with us through it.
2. Forgive others as Christ forgave you. It’s easy to think of our sins as little “mistakes” while imagining the sins of others are huge glaring wrongs. In Matthew 18, Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who sinned against him. When Peter suggested 7 times (sounds reasonable), Jesus countered saying “70 times 7”, then followed up with a parable to drive home the lesson on forgiving others. Jesus wasn’t saying to forgive 490 times. He was saying that we shouldn’t put limits on our forgiveness of others, in the same way that we have access to unlimited grace.
3. Make time alone with God a priority. There are times in life in which a season of pulling away from others is good and necessary for developing endurance. There are many examples in the Gospel of Jesus choosing solitude when facing grief, making important decisions, or to rest (Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12, Mark 6:31, Matthew 4, Matthew 14:13). Sometimes the key to enduring is to get away from the situations that make us feel weary by spending time alone in God’s presence. Getting away from the “noise” helps us hear his voice.
Father, I know that endurance is not just a physical thing. I need to also build my capacity to love others well, with the same grace and compassion that you give to me daily. Help me to be more like you, to trust your plan even when relationships with others feel frustrating. When I feel like I can’t be more like you, help me to find time to draw close to you. It’s only in your presence that I can find strength to endure. AMEN.
Just like you need to build up capacity for endurance events, you can build your capacity to be patient and loving towards the people God has placed in your life. Think about your relationships with others. Could God be using a difficult relationship to nudge you to trust his plan, forgive others, and spend more time in his presence?
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