August, 2018

“…when persecuted, we endure…” (1 Corinthians 4:12 ESV).

Our Manner of EndurancePastor Keith L. Bagwell    Though endurance is not often extolled as a virtue, to be a Christian is to endure. Our model for endurance is Christ our King, who endured the cross. As Christ-followers we need to remind ourselves continually who we are and what we do: We are people who endure. Endurance is the sign of a mature Christian. Those who have not been marked by Christ do not have the capacity to endure. They “give in” or “give up” at the first sign of trouble or opposition.

Endurance is not a uniqueness to followers of Jesus. Many people who do not know Christ endure incredible things: injustice, poverty, shame, physical abuse and more. In order for our endurance to glorify God, it must often be a challenge that is impossible in our natural strength and abilities. What distinguishes Christian endurance from the endurance of those who do not follow Christ is the manner and the reason for our endurance. We can endure sickness with grace or grimace. We can bear sorrow with frown or favor. We accept wrong doing in anger or peace. The true follower of Jesus endures unimaginably while remaining unbelievably calm. It is not our endurance that exalts Him; rather it is the manner in which we endure.

Also this type of endurance is exceptional because we the Christian endure for a lofty reason; the souls of mankind. For instance, the endurance for one’s personal survival is not on the same level as endurance for the love of others. Persecution brings this front and center; 1 Corinthians 4:12, reminds us what we do in persecution: “Persecuted, we endure.” Endurance is what we do.

As we seek to “live the life” unto Jesus we endure for the glory of God. We make God look good when we suffer well. We adorn the gospel when we endure for the truth. Endurance is a virtue of the “new man” in Christ.

In His service,

Keith L. Bagwell