Staying Faithful No Matter the Cost
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)
As Paul was writing this letter, the Roman Emperor Nero had begun an all-out assault on Christians. Christians were arrested and put to death in very gruesome ways. Some Christians, being gripped with fear, were denying Christ in front of their tormentors and agreeing to worship Caesar in order to save their own lives. They were not choosing to stay faithful no matter the cost.
Through the past 2000 years, many Christians facing persecution have chosen to stay faithful to Jesus no matter the cost to them. We call them martyrs. Any Christian who swears to tell the truth about Jesus Christ regardless of the consequences is a witness to the truth about Jesus.
Staying faithful requires endurance.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
- Jesus said to His followers that we will have trouble in this world. Some troubles simply come from living in this fallen world and are common to everyone. Illness and natural disasters. Other troubles like persecution and rejection are related to being a child of God living in an unbelieving world. Then there are those we inflict upon ourselves because of sin still present within us—our own bad choices—or troubles that others inflict upon us because of their bad choices. Either way, we get stuck with the results. Any kind of suffering is painful.
- Jesus wants to help us not only survive a lifetime of ups and downs but also to thrive as we live through them. For that, you and I need to have something called endurance. But, endurance is only learned when there is a challenge to our comfort.
- The Bible teaches that endurance is required to live this life and stay faithful to God no matter what. Endurance is a good word, but biblical endurance encompasses so much more. It is more related to the word perseverance. Perseverance is holding to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose without giving way. Staying faithful no matter what. That’s the picture of biblical endurance. And, biblical endurance has both purpose and reward.
Truth #1: Endurance is good for us.
Endurance in the Bible means “bearing under.” It’s holding up a load with staying power and stick-to-it-iveness. Endurance teaches us “staying power” for a long-term burden.
Truth #2: Endurance makes us stronger.
Bible study alone won’t develop endurance. Just like load-bearing exercise makes your bones stronger, troubles that challenge your faith do that, too.
Truth #3: Endurance is necessary to grow up into maturity.
- In the process of human development, the goal is to grow up into a fully functioning, responsible adult. That involves enduring challenges of life so we will grow into maturity.
- But, we don’t necessarily desire endurance. We get sidetracked with our comforts and our rights. Without endurance, we become satisfied with immaturity. We have men and women refusing to grow up into maturity. In the workplace. In the home. And, in the church. God’s goal for us is to be mature and complete. Endurance is His tool to help us reach that goal
Truth #4: Endurance teaches us to depend on God more than on ourselves.
- This popular saying is false teaching, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” From 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, we learn that God allowed Paul and his co-workers to be under great pressure, far beyond their ability to endure. God’s purpose was for them to rely on God more than on themselves. God definitely gives us more than we can handle on our own.
- Going through troubles is God’s will for us. He allows things in our lives to challenge us, to develop endurance in us. It is not so we don’t need Him any longer but that we would rely on Him more.
- God gives everyone more than we can handle on our own in order to drive us to Him, to rely on Him, and to gain the confidence in Him so that we will depend on Him more. Endurance teaches us to depend on God more than on ourselves.
The purpose and the reward of endurance through suffering
- Paul looked at everything he endured during his whole adult life and still saw purpose. The purpose was the salvation of many. And, he reminded Timothy that though he might be chained, God’s word is not chained. The gospel is not chained. The purpose for enduring the present suffering had not changed. It was to stay faithful to Jesus Christ and His gospel no matter what. 2 Timothy 2:8-10
- He also saw the reward of staying faithful was the eternal glory he would receive when he was greeted by his Savior in heaven. We have that same reward waiting for us as believers in Christ.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His faithfulness. Then, make the choice to stay faithful to Him for the rest of your life.
Buy To Be Found Faithful Bible Study at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.