Friday, October 03, 2003


(I Peter 2:11-25)
There has to be more to life than endurance as we understand it. The dictionary definitions lend to the idea of "bearing up", "sustaining under pressure", or "holding your own". Quite honestly, that's what I think of when I think of enduring all things for Christ's sake. That has been the idea I grew up with. The idea that Christ lovingly took all the suffering and pain we would ever have on Himself at the cross, and although we will go through some rough times here on earth, He doesn't want us to suffer the evils and ills found on earth any longer than is necessary. Therefore we must stick it out until He chooses to take us home to be with Him in Heaven.

I thought through this idea a year or so ago when I came across the "Free Grace Broadcaster" booklets. My conclusion was that if our idea of endurance is correct--simply to bear one's own weight for a time--then that would either be a season or the idea of perseverance would have to accompany. Endurance as I've known it seems to go against every earth-shattering idea of grace I've ever come in contact with for the two-fold reason that it lends to self pity and contradicts the call to bear one another's burdens.

As I wrestled with the idea, I made the decision to bring it up over lunch with Der and Joanna. I asked if the idea of endurance has changed in meaning since the time Peter wrote and said that everywhere I looked the idea was to stick it out and hold on until the ride is over. "There's got to be more to endurance than that. Is perseverance built into Peter's call to endure?" He responded by saying that both Peter and Paul use similar imagery in words like "standfast" or "longsuffering". "Longsuffering doesn't mean that you suffer for a long time," he said.

Thus, endurance as I've known it is very un-Biblical. Once again I am shown how easy it is to go on believing fragmentary truths and still be as hopeless as the soul who has no guarantee of sustaining grace. There is more to life because life is about more than our trials and hardships--though how we react to such seasons of testing speak volumes in regards to the belief we hold on what the meaning of life is. If we believe in steadfast perseverance and genuine longsuffering then the nature of our faith--the purpose of our life--is the Biblical call to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Indeed, that is man's chief end.

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