Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2
en·dur·ance - noun - the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way
What's been difficult for you lately? What delay has happened in your life that is testing your ability to keep going? What trial? What circumstance?
The author of Hebrews exhorted his believing audience to run their race of faith in Christ with endurance. In other words, he encouraged them to keep running the race of faith, despite the fact that their current circumstances were hard and unpleasant.
You can take it to the bank, believers in Christ will always have to endure for Jesus.
Without a doubt, "enduring" is a problem in modern Christianity. Modern Christians live in an age of instant gratification, sexual revolution, and a strong pining for comfort and security. All of these impulses can run strongly against the Spirit's work in Christ. This call from the Spirit beckons the believer to stay close to Jesus and remain in His Word, especially when situations are hard.
Quitting on Jesus because He offends you is becoming in vogue. Quitting on the church because it doesn't meet all your needs is becoming too easy. Quitting on the Word of God to acquiesce to short term cultural gains is becoming common, especially amongst church leaders. Christians are lacking endurance these days!
So now that we've stated the problem (lack of endurance), what is the solution? The answer is simply looking to Jesus. If you want to endure for Jesus, you must look at Jesus and consider His teaching and example. Jesus endured the Cross, Jesus despised it's shame, Jesus endured the wrath of God and the anger of sinful mankind. Jesus is our endurance example to follow.
If you think you're having a bad day, consider Jesus. If you think you can't get through this tough cultural fight we're up against, consider Jesus. If you think you're getting persecuted for your faith, consider Jesus. If you think you might suffer physical harm for professing Christianity, consider Jesus. It's by simple faith in Christ, God gives the believer every resource he or she needs to endure faithfully to the end.
Jesus had his eyes on the prize: Eternal Life in Heaven. That's how He endured! He looked to what was coming His way and He rejoiced. Eternal life secured...sin is paid for...victory over Satan and evil established...His victorious kingdom coming...all those thoughts fueled Jesus' endurance as He suffered on the Cross.
And so it is with us today, our endurance is based on what we know is coming in eternity. It's our vision of heaven and eternity with Jesus that strengthens our faith now. It's the reality of Jesus' Lordship over all things and peoples, that causes us to endure for the name of our Savior. By the Grace of God, may He grant every Christian who reads this article the ability to endure for the sake of Jesus' name. By God's grace, may modern Christians say with the saints of old, "They went away, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus" - Acts 5:41
May God richly give you the Grace to endure today through Jesus our Lord!