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I love talking and writing about faith.
I learned the depth of Christ’s healing by walking by faith. As a matter of fact, faith introduced me to the power of God.
Enduring in faith is not as easy as one thinks, as just walking by faith for several days, weeks, and months. As we journey through reading about the men and women of faith in the Bible, I’ll be sharing about faith that consists of suffering, agony, and pain. But don’t be afraid, it’s God who is glorified in the suffering. And from what I’ve read and learned from others and myself, to endure in faith takes loyalty, trust, love, and obedience to God.
So while it may not be easy, persevering in faith can be done.
The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:3, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”2 Timothy 2:3
Now, I’ve read this scripture numerous times and didn’t fully understand the meaning of it. But as my elders used to tell me, “Keep living, and you will.” Before I address this biblically, I want to mention how my ancestors endured hardness.
What does it mean to have an enduring faith?
The Oxford Dictionary meaning for the term “endure” is to suffer painfully with patience.
Looking back, I was born in the Jim Crow Law era, and until 1946 my parents were not allowed the freedom to travel on trains and buses.
Unfortunately, my parents couldn’t afford a car at the time, so my father had to walk many long miles to work, and my grandmother did too, regardless of how hot or cold it was outside. As a child, I wasn’t completely aware of how much they endured pain and difficulty patiently because they never complained.
Born and raised in Alabama, I respected and loved my parents and grandmother for how they endured such hardness as good soldiers in Christ. They patiently waited until God made a way for them to ride buses and trains. Although they had to give up their seats from time to time, they were happy they didn’t have to endure the unpredictable weather anymore.
You see, my ancestors were good soldiers as they endured hard tasks and cruelty. The cruelty was much like what the Egyptians did to the children of Israel. The equivalence was that my ancestors and the children of Israel prayed to God for deliverance through suffering and pain, and I praise God today, for their deliverance! Hallelujah!
Now, as I decided to write this blog post, my mind automatically went to the suffering and pain of Christ.
“Could I and would I be willing to suffer as Christ and these men did?”-Delphine Kirkland
The pain and suffering our Lord and Savior had to endure for His love for us should always be appreciated. Some of His disciples, like the Apostle Paul, suffered considerably because of their declaration of Christ. Today, I constantly find myself asking, “Could I and would I be willing to suffer as Christ and these men did?”
For a moment, let’s look at what enduring faith requires in our day.
Allow me to share a few requirements:
Trust the One (God) who is leading you.
Abraham’s faith was based on his trust in God and his personal relationship with Him. Would you trust a stranger? I know that it may be difficult to trust a stranger these days, but it’s so much easier to trust in someone whom you have a good relationship with, right?
Yet, Abraham knew God was a faithful Father and Friend, so he believed that God would fulfill His promises. The truth is, God, doesn’t want our faith to rest on man’s wisdom but on His power. First Corinthians 2:5 says, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
Remember, God wants us to trust Him as He leads us and obey what He tells us, so He can demonstrate His power to us (just like Moses saw the power of God at the Red Sea). Sometimes we will miss out on the manifestation of God trying to solve our problems on our own. So don’t move forward alone. Trust in the One who will lead you down the right path.
Obey God when you don’t understand Him.
Can you imagine the agony of Abraham’s heart when he was told to sacrifice his son? Yet, Abraham knew God’s voice and believed that God would provide a sacrifice.
So, he obeyed despite not knowing the outcome. Are you on a journey with God and have no idea of the outcome? If so, there’s no need to worry.
The Lord has you and He is in complete control. He has many rams in the bushes for those who obey Him. Along the way, remember that as a child of God, you will be asked to do a lot of things that will not satisfy your flesh. But obey God anyway, even when you don’t understand Him.
Pray without ceasing.
Keeping an active prayer life will assist you through your suffering and pain.
God wants us to tell Him what is on our minds and what we are worried about. Job suffered loss, faced uncertainties, and needed comfort, as well as help and guidance, but he talked to God through it all.
So, let me ask you a question. Have you ever been in a trial when you didn’t understand what was happening or what God was doing through it?
Well, I have and so has Job. He was in a trial that took him off guard and sometimes that happens to us children of God.
So whenever you’re going through tough times in your life, know that prayer will draw you closer to God, keep you in His will, change situations, heal, give you strength, wisdom, hope, and peace, and show you that your life is not about you, but about His refining your character and to prepare you to be a living testimony for others. So don’t stop praying. God is at work through your prayers.
Spiritual fasting is recommended.
There are many types of fasts that are trending these days, but the fast that pleases God is a spiritual fast. Intermittent fasting is not a Jesus fast. Spiritual fasting gives our bodies a spiritual connection to God and keeps our bodies under control, and under subjection. Jesus’ life consisted of fasting, and we should incorporate it into our lifestyles, as well.
So, here’s my recommendation. If you want to draw closer to God, surrender to God, listen for His divine direction, strengthen your prayer life, and resist temptation through fasting while praying to God.
I encourage you to search the scriptures to find out how fasting was beneficial to those in the Bible. As a beginner, you may want to try a 1-day fast (sunrise to sunset – see Judges 20:26). Queen Esther and Paul went on a 3-day fast (see Esther 4:16 and Acts 9:9). I encourage you to read about Samuel, which was a 7-day fast (see 1 Samuel 31:13). Lastly, you can look up Daniel, Paul, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus to read more about how they fasted. Try it.
Know the Word of God.
Prayer combined with God’s word are weapons against Satan’s schemes.
Praying and knowing the scriptures will help you as you endure your afflictions. Let me pause here for a brief moment to ask you another question. When you are sick, do you go to the doctor for help (if necessary)?
If you are suffering spiritually, do you know God is available to heal you at any time? Just something about quoting God’s word back to Him that gives us such comfort and strength.
I want you to know that when you know God’s word, the scriptures will quicken your mind, strengthen your faith, protect you from temptation, and give you joy and peace as you endure your storms. Take some time to go deeper into scripture to know the word of God.
Understand the Pain.
Jesus understood His suffering. Second Timothy 2:12 says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.”
Also, Romans 8:17 tells us, “And if children then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be glorified together.” Not many of us understand why we must suffer and endure pain. However, if we endure our sufferings and pain, we shall also reign with Christ. When I look back on John the Baptist’s life, I recall him being a bold soldier. He was willing to call out sin in the lives of others.
He endured prison and was willing to die for Christ because He understood the pain. The Apostle Paul had to encourage Timothy about how to endure hardness as a good soldier. And while in prison, Paul boldly preached the gospel to the prison guards and encouraged others through his suffering. He understood his pain and would press through it to lead others to Christ, as he established churches.
Lastly, Jesus knew His suffering would save sinners from their sins and give them eternal life. So, as you and I look to encounter our own suffering in life, let us always remember that others went through before us in the Bible.
Let us hold onto the reality that our pain has a purpose and that when it’s all said and done, God will ultimately be glorified, and lives will be changed…including our own.
Now, are you willing to suffer for Christ? We are living in the last days and God is gathering up an army that is sold out and who won’t break rank. Are you ready for battle?
Because now is the time to pray and ask God to help you persevere through hardness as a good soldier. It’s time to gird up and get ready to have enduring faith!
Do you need prayer to equip you for battle?
Email me for prayer at email@example.com.
Also, I’d love to hear how this blog post has ministered to you in some way. You can email me to let me know when you have a free moment.