“…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. [Hebrews 12:1-3]
Our problems are temporary, but the promises of God are permanent/forever/eternal. Our situations will change, but the promises of God will never change.
Jesus endured the cross and ignored the shame for the joy set before him. So we will have to fix our eyes on Him in order to overcome our situations.
To look beyond our circumstances, we have to,
Jesus went about doing good. As a result of doing good all his life, the people chose Jesus to be crucified. Jesus dealt with it (hostility and bitter opposition) by enduring and ignoring. Overcoming evil with evil is easy. But overcoming evil with good is hard.
What does it mean to endure?
James 1: 2 – “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
Have a joyful attitude.
You will only be tested on what you have already been taught / learnt. It is your faith that overcomes the world.
To explain through an analogy, students are tested only based on what they have studied as part of the syllabus. So, a student attending an exam subjects himself / herself to be tested, with confidence as he / she know that the exam will only have questions on what was taught / learnt.
Faith is what connects you to God. So you are always tested based on your faith. It is your connection with God that will enable you to face the test and emerge victorious. The devil attacks the belief you have in God’s word. If that wavers, the connection is cut.
You are more precious to God than what you have.
“If the enemy can move you from a place of faith, he can get you outside the plan of God.” – Smith Wigglesworth
If the devil can move you from your faith in God, he can move you outside God’s will.
How does the devil do this?
1. He questions / challenges your understanding of the truth concerning God’s word.
Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
Only through God’s word you can overcome the circumstances. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
Analogy: A driver may not know mechanics, but a mechanic knows how to drive. It means, when a vehicle stops, the mechanic can repair it himself and drive it back.
2. He targets at your confession
The devil will bring up doubts concerning your faith. If your understanding is questioned and you fail in that, there will be a change in your confession. When the confession is confused, the conduct changes and it leads to a bigger confusion.
3. He targets at your love for God
We need to have a conviction in our heart that he loves us so much. With God enabling you, it is impossible to fail in your test of faith. God’s word is powerful. And your word is powerful as you were made in the image of God. When the devil begins to cause doubt in your confession and love for God, and you speak out a word that is not out of faith, the devil holds on to that word and causes you to fall. And you will end up being blamed. Be careful not to lose your grip on God’s word.
The testing of your faith will produce endurance / perseverance / fortitude.
What is Perseverance / Endurance?
1. Being patient with people
Let go of certain things.
Jesus was very patient with his disciples. He told them to keep watch and pray, and the disciples were sleeping. Jesus told them again to do, but they slept.
2. Persevering in our circumstances
In circumstances, Jesus was not patient but persevering.
When circumstances are against you, don’t submit to the circumstances, but rather submit to the promise and overcome the circumstance. Job persevered and overcame his affliction. He did not surrender to the situation, but proclaimed the word, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (Job 19:25)
Promises don’t change, but circumstances change.
II Timothy 2:3 – Be a good soldier and suffer for God.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” [Romans 5:2-5]
God refines you through tests of patience and perseverance to bring you out as a proven character for his glory.
Testing of faith – endurance -proven character -hope
James 1:4 – Stay put, take a firm stand until the whole process of refinement is completed.
My hope will not be disappointed as the Holy Spirit resides in me.
The Lord loves us so much that he does not leave us nor forsake us. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives gives us strength to endure and persevere.
[Romans 8:35-37] – “Vs 37 – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” In all these things – Refers to all problems, issues, circumstances that we face.
Be an overcomer today!