All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Mark 13:13 NIV
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:13-15 NIV
Endurance, perseverance, waiting. These are not words most Americans like very much. Many of us are waiting right now. We are waiting for our country and the world to be “normal” again. Waiting may be seen as passive, but I believe in God’s kingdom, waiting is actually an active term. Waiting often requires that we display perseverance, and endurance in our faith.
We are called to stand firm in our faith, especially in the waiting. This involves practicing our spiritual muscles, it involves doing the next thing to increase our spiritual stamina, and it requires daily and weekly attention. Otherwise, we will lose ground and not build endurance, stamina, and perseverance.
My husband enjoys long bike rides. But in the Spring, as the weather warms up, he does not start with a 50-mile bike ride. First, he rides 10 miles, then he increases his distance to 15 miles. Each week he rides, he will increase his distance 5 miles until he can ride 50 miles or more in one day. He builds his endurance slowly, and consistently.
There are many ways to build our spiritual endurance. Some examples are 1. Read and study God’s word, 2. Pray often, 3. Spend time connecting with other believers so we can encourage each other and pray with and for each other, 4. Serve other people in need, 5. Sing or listen to worship music.
While we are in this unique season in our country and our world, evaluate how you are building your spiritual endurance. First, turn off the news, and put down your phone. Then consider, could you spend more time praying for our country’s leaders or praying for our church leaders and the South Fellowship search committee? Perhaps you could read and study a book of the Bible you are not very familiar with. Many people are isolated because of the virus, perhaps you could call, email, visit via Zoom room, or write an actual letter to encourage someone today. We can only experience God’s presence in the present, right now, yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here yet. Find a way to spend some time today in God’s presence. Perhaps take a walk and pray, perhaps listen to music that helps you worship, perhaps read, study and memorize a psalm, or Ephesians 6:10-18. Choose one of these suggestions to do today, this week, this month to build spiritual endurance while waiting.
By Grace Hunter