2 Peter 1:6b
(Many people fall in their Christian life for one reason: they quit, they drop out, they fail to stick with it. But Peter tells us in 2 Pet. 1 that if we practice all the wonderful qualities listed in verses 5-7, we "will never stumble" (2 Pet. l:10). If we fail to diligently endure, we are going to fall.
Endurance comes from a compound Greek word: hupo (under) + meno (to remain). Literally, it means endurance under pressure, under testings, under trials. If we learn to stick with it when troubles, trials, discouragement and difficulties come into our lives, there are three wonderful results.
Endurance Brings Perfection
James tells us to "count it all joy when we are encompassed by manifold trials" (1:2). James is talking about a joy that is able to look beyond the obstacle, problem or difficulty mid see the opportunity to become more like Jesus. This can only be done by faith, seeing beyond the visible and looking to the invisible, spiritual things of God.
As Christians, we should have grown to the point that we know that the "testing of our faith produces endurance" (Jas.l:3). The word 'testing' describes the ore that passes through the fire to separate the dross from the genuine ore. Trials are like an uncomfortable furnace but it is beneficial because it tells us how genuine our faith is. And when our faith has been tested, and we pass the test, it produces endurance within us.
When we endure, that brings perfection or growth, the very thing Peter writes about in 2 Pet. 1. When a Christian faces trials, he can either give up in defeat or he can increase his capacity to endure and be steadfast in his commitment to the will of God. Every time we endure, we are strengthened and are able to endure stronger trials in our lives. Thus, trials round our more and more parts of our righteous character so we can be more what God wants us to be.
Many Christians retreat from trials and they become spiritual creampuffs. They never really grow and mature. James tells us there is no easy way to mature. We can only become mature and full-grown when we learn to endure trials when they come. If we will submit to the trials of life, we will not only become perfect and full-grown but...
Endurance Brings Peace
"Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful" (James 5:11).
The book of Job demonstrates the fact that a faithful man will bear any form of trial rather than forsake God. It shows clearly the struggle of one who, while he cannot understand at the moment the why of suffering, he still endures in his faith toward God.
In Job 1-3, we have Job's DISTRESS. Satan attacked Job's fortune, family and flesh. In Job 4-31, we read of Job's DEFENSE, as he debates with this three friends and answers their false accusations. Job 32-42 presents Job's DELIVERANCE. First, God humbles Job, then He honors Job by giving him twice as much as he had before.When Satan attacked Job, he was trying to shake his faith in God but he never succeeded. Job would not forsake his faith in God. In the book of Job, Job never really did find out why he suffered but even though Job didn't know what you and I know, Job endured. Job didn't understand the attack upon his fortune, family and flesh. He didn't know why, but he knew Who. He said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15). James uses Job as an illustration of how Christians should have his tranquility and peace in the midst of trials, troubles and tribulations.
We need to learn that we can't control most of the circumstances of life. Therefore, what we cannot control, we need to learn to endure. When we endure trials, James 5:11 says we are "blessed." That means we are highly favored because we are acceptable with God and that relationship brings peace and tranquility. It is a peace and joy that is untouchable and completely independent of all the changes and circumstances of life.
From Job we learn that God had a loving purpose in allowing His servant to go through trials. He never allows His children to suffer needlessly. Someone says, "But God permitted Satan to take everything Job possessed! Isn't God concerned at all about man's lot on earth?" Yes, God is concerned about His people. He is full of compassion and mercy (Jas.5:11). His heart goes out to His child who is suffering trials but we must go through these trials if we want perfection and peace. And when we endure...
Endurance Brings A Promise
Yes, we receive wonderful benefits in this life when we endure trials but when life is over and we have been approved, "we will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him'" (Jas. l:12)
God is not interested in seeing His children falter and fail. He wants us to endure, overcome and win the victory crown. Indeed, the trials and testings of life are hard and difficult but if we could only see what the end result of our lives is going to be, we would be more determined to endure. There can be no victory without endurance. If we don't bear the cross, we can't wear the crown. If we want to be victorious, we have got to endure.
No wonder Peter, after listing the wonderful virtues of 2 Pet. 1:5-7, concluded the section by writing, 'Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you" (2 Pet. l:10-11).
(Editor's note: The preceding expository article comes from "Bible Insight" edited by Carey Dillinger and is a part of a series by him and other writers. Carey contacted me several weeks ago and suggested that we might be interested in publishing these articles. The series is quite good and Lord willing, Expository Files will be using these articles in future issues. Carey and the other writers have given their permission.
By Barry Hudson
From Expository Files 7.9; September 2000