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How to have endurance during hardships
by Steven Testone, elder on November 14th, 2011

Every believer at some point in their Christian walk will have a time that calls for endurance. Whether this is a tragedy, persecution, illness, temptation, or simply a spiritual dry spell, it happens to us all. There will come a point where we are tired, run down, and our faith is tested to it's limits. God's word teaches us that these are the times that call for us to have a faith that endures even "unto death". So what does the bible teach us about how to do this?

In his letter to the church in Smyrna, Jesus encourages a church that is going through all sorts of trials and tribulations. Their faith is being tested and he challenges them to "Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life." In this way, Christ is calling them to look-ahead to what he has in store for them in order to get through their current struggles. The most powerful information believers have that enables a faith that endures to the end, are the promises of God about what lies beyond the end.

I think many of us do not spend enough time studying and meditating on the good things that God has in store for the believers. You may spend a lot of time thinking about what Christ has saved you from, but do you really think about what he has saved you to? Christ did not just save us from a place of punishment, but saved us to a place of paradise. True faith is about "the assurance of things hoped for" (Hebrews 11:1), so you have to understand what it is you are hoping for.

God's word promises that what is in store for us is more awesome then our wildest imagination can come up with (1 Cor. 2:9). It's so good that the worst troubles you could ever have on this world will seem like nothing compared with how great eternity with God will be (Romans 8:18). For those that have experienced the worst this world can throw at them, this might seem impossible, and almost insulting. It would have to be so unimaginably amazing to make what you've gone through "seem like nothing". God knows this, he knows what you've been through, and he still makes this promise.

We learn from scripture that Christ himself was looking ahead in order to have endurance in the present. "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2). This week I challenge you to read and meditate over Revelation 21:1-8 and focus on the joy set before you to see if it doesn't help with what you are going through today.

"Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next." - C.S. Lewis

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