The Bare Soul - July 18, 2010
Endurance

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "Endurance" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on July 15, 2010.

Endurance - July 15, 2010

Hebrews 10:36 - For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

In our present age, few are heralded with celebrity status more than sports figures. The days when most professional athletes need to hold "another" job to support themselves are long gone. Today, the multi-million dollar contracts that many athletes receive would make a Ty Cobb or a Jim Thorpe blush with embarrassment regarding their yearly salaries. However, many look to present day "all stars" with an idolization characteristic of Hollywood super-stardom. Unfortunately, some grab the spotlight for their less than moral behavior which is often a huge disappointment to those who desire to emulate their status (I speak of adoring youth). Some athletes that have broken trust with their marital partner, or have succumbed to abusing drugs or alcohol, have only revealed their lack of moral character. They have somehow lost themselves in an ocean of gratuitous forgetfulness. Through this mental surrendering, they have given away their drive to be the role model that so many look to them to emulate. Their endurance both on and off the field has been exchanged for passion or lust of the wrong kind. Ultimately, they have sold out.

Most of us will never be of super-stardom, either in sports or in life in general. However, there is a selling one's self short when we lose the desire to persevere in our faith. Simply put, desire to endure comes from a personal relationship with God. Many will say, "I have a faith in God and Jesus Christ, but it just seems like I am going through the motions many days". If a person feels this way, it is probably true. Many Christians today are living OUTSIDE of the will of God and that is why they have no drive to endure. Our lead scripture states that we have a need for endurance. How does that come? The writer of Hebrews tells us when he states: ... when you have done the will of God. God is not desirous that we persevere for perseverance's sake, or to endure for endurance sake.  Many have put themselves into a rut -- believing that the Lord wants them doing this or that, yet He has not called them to do any of those things they deem so important. If we are lacking the pleasure of His presence on a consistent basis, meaning the joy of the Lord (Psalm 16:11), then we should look to ourselves and ask, "Am I running out of spiritual gas because I am not drawing upon the Source?

Jesus believed that endurance was so important, that He mentioned it in reference to eternal salvation. In Luke 21:19 He states: By your endurance you will gain your lives. In context, the Lord is talking about the end times and the perseverance and endurance that will be needed in the last days. However, eternal life does not begin when we all get to Glory, but it begins when we trust in the Savior and begin to draw from His springs of life. From these wells of refreshment we find the fuel of endurance needed to see our journeys to their end. Jesus knew that our faith would be tested, but if we continue in faith and trust in His will, then we will find that our endurance will never languish as James the brother of our Lord states (James 1:3). He goes on to say that not only will endurance get us to the finish line, but it will achieve a righteous outcome: And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4). According to this verse and others, sanctification is directly tied to our ability to endure. And, the only way to endure is by living in the will of God. There is no other way to make it, beloved. God promises victory if we listen to Him, obeying His voice day by day, and allowing His endurance to push us toward the goal. Just as certain, if we are living self-absorbed lives, quenching the wooing of His Spirit, then it is questionable whether we will truly finish the race that He has marked out for us all to run (Hebrews 12:1).

Endurance is not something just for the super-spiritual man or woman. Just as professional athletes are in need of endurance in their vocations, so too it is vital in their day to day existence in order to live moral, upstanding lives. How much more so as believers must we ask for God's spiritual fuel that will certainly help us rise above the worries and cares of this life? Jesus said that without it, we stand to lose. With it, however, we will be made perfect men and women of God, both in this life and the one to come. Do we have what it takes to finish? If we are in His will, listening and obeying the Father's voice, then we will have the strength to complete the course. May we all find the endurance we need to make us holy and righteous, both now and for eternity.

Lord, give us hearts of faith, creating a well of endurance to draw upon for the race before us. Help us, guide us into Your will. For in that place is the joy and strength to finish in Your pleasure. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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