In present cultural circumstance it seems timely to re-affirm Kingdom values. Confusion and chaos are descending on our world. In the event of a crisis, or when critical decisions must be engaged, holding to the foundational values gives consistency, direction, and boundaries for the path ahead. What is of value must be guarded.

A Greek professor gave me a penetrating insight into the Greek word for endurance as it is used in the New Testament. It may be freely translated, “being left standing after everyone else has collapsed.” This concept rooted deeply in my person. It has been a challenging value throughout my journey. The Greek word, Strong’s #5281, is a compound of two words, “abide” and “under.” The challenge becomes to “abide under” amid shaking and disorientation. Modern colloquialisms are “to hunker down” or “to hang in there.” Enduring during pressure means we don’t bolt, don’t run, don’t try to control things, and don’t start binding the Devil. We hunker down, hang in, and let God accomplish His purpose through the storms.

 Consider these admonitions:

By your endurance you will gain your lives (Luke 21:19).

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4).

Now comes the hard part. We may desire to endure but may have a limited capacity to do so. I am confronted by my human weakness. The question is raised: How can I increase my endurance factor?

Before we continue, let’s make something clear. Endurance is not the white-knuckle club. We do not endure by sweating bullets while desperately reciting favorite Bible verses through gritted teeth. Patience better catches the nuance of what is required. We cultivate endurance as we come to a place of rest in the totality of Father’s creational sovereignty. His unshifting Agape and His providential care keep us. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to “run with endurance the race set before us. Fixing our eyes on Jesus” (12:1). One way to mature in endurance is to focus on His sovereign love and care throughout the ages

The ages past. First, Jehovah revealed His image in creation and in humanity. Then, He revealed Himself as a Father to the nation of Israel. Finally, He reveals Himself personally in Jesus, desiring to be intimately known.

The present age. The Kingdom offer of being yoked to Christ is being made to every tribe, people, and nation. God the Father is preparing the nations to bring their glory into the Kingdom of Christ. Therefore, I am determined to be a Father-pleaser in this present age no matter how complex or demanding.

The age to come. We are privileged to “taste of the powers of the age to come” (Hebrews 6:5). We see Father preparing to restore and govern the earth He created. This work will be accomplished through His redeemed, reconciled, and glorified earthly family. I have “tasted” the promise of my inheritance.

To understand the seriousness of endurance as it presented in the New Testament, I would like to focus on the core intentions of the Kingdom:

  • Father is asking for a living sacrifice, who is being transformed like Jesus into a living stone that is destined to be built into His living temple on the earth. “God the Father is now prepared to move back into the neighborhood” (Revelation 21:3, The Message Translation).
  • Father is revealing His Son in me. This transformation demands that I endure. It is His work—don’t try to make it happen. More knowledge or religious fervor will not form the image of the Son in me.

Example. The Roman soldier demands that I carry his heavy pack and shield for one mile. Jesus adds a shocking dimension to this odious requirement: Offer to carry it another mile! We may need a second, third, or fourth to transform our illusion of endurance into an authentic capacity to endure with freedom and peace. Transformed endurance reflects the very nature of the Father. The Son is being revealed in me!

We are beginning to value what the Kingdom values. Transformed willingness into a dependable capacity to endure prepares us to be present and participating “when God moves into the neighborhood.” We will not trade our inheritance.

Jude proclaims the enabling glory of God through all the ages. I leave this with you as my benediction and prayer for your increasing, joyful endurance!

And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time (1: 24-25, The Message Translation).

Bob Mumford

 

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