“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:48 NASB
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue(excellence) knowledge, to knowledge self-control(temperance), to self-control perseverance(endurance)….
II Peter 1:5&6
Endurance(Perseverance) is built upon the quality of self-control on the path towards Perfection.
What is Endurance?
The Word “Endurance” is translated from the Original Greek Word Hupomonē (hoop-om-on-ay). It stems from it’s verb form hupomenō which literally means to remain/tarry under.
Therefore, in all, this Word connotes Endurance, Patience, Constancy, Consistency, Waiting, Tarry behind and Perseverance.
Without Self-Control you will never be able to persevere or endure. Which means that every time a test comes your way you will yield. Endurance, supported by Self-Control, is a very important quality that every Christian needs in order to win the race of the faith.
In our previous session, we dealt with self-control using the illustration of an athlete winning the race. When the athlete sets his eyes on the prize, he trains vigorously for several months in order that he may be able to win when he runs the race. This is where Self-control and Endurance works hand in hand.
The trainer knows that in order to win the prize, he must train very hard but this is easier said than done. Every time, he undergoes this difficult training, the severity tempts him to give up. What keeps him going? The Hope of attaining the Prize. What must he do in order to stand a great chance of winning? Endure his training.
He must never give up or falter in his training until the end. This is the same for every believer. Perhaps we should briefly look at a few Scriptures to encourage us.
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6:11-12 NKJV
Any one following this series is familiar with the word “diligence.” There is an imperishable crown of stupendous honor set before each of us (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). This prize is a great promise waiting for us to inherit. In order to receive this promise, we were admonished by Paul to be diligent, training hard with this hope until the very end.
In other words, Never Stop Short. Never give up.
It is not enough to just have faith. You need faith and patience.
When Paul speaks of the race in the Olympics Games of his day, He refers particularly to that of the marathon and not the 100 or 200-meter race. Self- Control deals with putting your body under subjection in training to stand a great chance in winning the race. Endurance, in the case, deals with remaining under that training BUT more importantly, remaining under that pressure and fatigue patiently suffering until you cross the finish line.
It is when you cross the finish line that you are honored for running the race. If you are not able to endure and finish the race, you are disqualified. Paul speaks of this in his illustration concerning Self-Control.
but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:27 NASB
This takes not only faith that you can run and win, excellency(virtue) in skill, knowledge of the sport and its rules, disciplining the body in training (self-control) but also endurance(perseverance) in order not to stop short or give up until you have crossed the finish line of your Marathon Race of Life in Christ.
The Christian life is not a sprint. It is not a 100 m dash. It is like a marathon. Many people start off very fast, very exuberant in the things of God but never pass the finishing tape. All these is because they lack the required building block of endurance.
The Word of God admonishes Us in the Book of Hebrews:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance (hupomonē) the race that is set before us.
Hebrews 12:1 NASB
Jesus endured his own race . He endured the cross, the shame and persecution of his own given assignment. He did all these because of the Joy that was set before Him. The PRIZE of the Glory and Honor of Sitting at the Right hand of the Father (Hebrews 12:2). You and I are expected to look to Him and do the same in our own individual race of life.
Run the Race to win the prize. Strive to exercise self-control in all things and ENDURE till you cross the finish line. Grace is available and ever-sufficient for you.