“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised (Heb. 10:36).”
Growing up, I played several sports. Swimming was by far the most challenging because you had to endure through hours of several laps and difficult sets.
Every year, my high school coach would create the most strenuous practice on New Years Day: 100 x 100’s on 2:00 time. That’s a total of 10,000 yards or 5.7 miles in the water!
I had to endure through tough muscle and cardio pain. Even if you were out of breath and fatigued, you just kept pushing through. I remember only getting halfway through the set and already wanting to give up–but then my coach and teammates would motivate me to keep grinding through the pain!
While these grueling practices were difficult to endure, it prepared us for when we would compete in the state championships. And when you train your body through this type of physical and mental exhaustion, it is all worth it when you go your best time or win the race!
How much more important is it to endure through spiritual trials in order to finish the race well? For we are not training for merely a medal or temporary award that fades, but an everlasting relationship with the living God. Endurance through adversity in the Christian life is essential to our spiritual growth.
What are some practical ways you can endure through fiery trials in order to succeed in the Christian life? First, trust in God. He works together for good to those who are called according to His purposes (Rom. 8:28).
Second, realize that God has a purpose for your trials. In fact, the book of James tells us to rejoice when you go through trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and perseverance will result in Christian maturity (James 1:2-4).
Just like practice and training in sports prepares you for the race, trials that God allows mold us more into the image of Him, which is our ultimate goal.Tweet
Finally, don’t allow the flesh, the devil, and the world to distract you from training. There were so many times when I wanted to skip practice and just rest at home, but I knew that if I missed my time in the pool, I would not be successful when it came down to competing against other swimmers.
Our flesh and the devil wants to distract us from spiritual training. There are so many bells and whistles that keep our attention on self rather than God. Do not allow these temptations to hinder you from prayer, reading God’s Word, going to church, and communing with the living God.
For you need to practice self-control in order to endure successfully to the end. Jesus warned his disciples in Matthew 24:13, “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Therefore, you must continue to repent and strive for holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I would like to end with 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Praise the Lord. Keep enduring through fiery trials by trusting in the living God. Amen!
Devotional written by Chad A. Damitz