>I Don’t Understand that kind of Endurance

>The apostles, early church fathers, disciples alike maintained a kind of quality of faith that I really do not understand. How do you acquire the kind of patient endurance that supersedes a residual reminder that you are intertwined with a fallen world? While in one sense a spiritual beacon blares a constant message that we are His inheritance in the redeemed souls. But the other side is the residue, the lingering attachment to this world that while drifting it is still not over the horizon. Its effects still felt. Long gone since “it is finished” is the old humanity, yet there are still a lack of true compassion and mercy, reconciliation, and patience. All that balanced with some things that are changing so slowly it appears as though some things are still the same.

I don’t understand how they did it.

How do they, with a clear conscience understanding you are the furthest thing from perfection, painfully endure with such a constant bombardment of antagonism both from inside themselves and outside? The real converted life is one that has to constantly reconcile you are not Christlike until you are Christlike. All of this a daily struggle. And then there is the that subtle message, quietly rising to the top of the fact that persecution is rampant. The daily danger of loosing ones life for the faith. The constant pressure of ‘if I share this message concerning Christ’ they could fill up the afflictions that were lacking in Christ. Yet also knowing they do not have a choice, they have to tell it, because they have seen Him and realize that He is the only one who has words that contain life.

I don’t get it. Don’t understand that kind of endurance.

Today (that is Wednesday February 16, 2010) we do not have the pressure of persecution and a regular threat of loosing ones life. Tomorrow could very well be different but not this Wednesday (at least not this morning.) It seems that our biggest struggles comes from within the body of Christ more than without. Here is the Spirit who is grieved at the inability to be transparent, reconciling, extending the same grace we take advantage of daily. And I am referring to myself only you know where you are in the parts of our walk that really matter. I find myself wondering, if you took this part of the body and somehow placed us in the 1st context how well would we do? How would families be strengthened. How many men would be able to assume the role of head, wives assuming the role of help mates, children would still disobey, and all of us maintaining our role of doulos (the word used to describe us in the New Testament more than any other word which means slave?)  It has been about me so long, about us so long, we tend to forget that His glory is all that shines eternity. We get glorified bodies. Yes. But where did that reputation come from?

I don’t know how they did it. And there is within me a sort of doubt about myself when I look at them. I’d like to say that I’d be ready for anything, but there are some things that happen these days that are so discouraging that I begin to wonder about a number of things. Discouraging is the lack of reconciliation and being reconciled to others in light of the fact that God does this for us daily. Discouraging how inwardly focused and ‘self’ purpose driven we still are after conversion in spite of the fact that God has and does clearly articulate His purpose for us. Discouraging are the fallen moments of misdirected thinking about the things that matter. The mass amount of time wasted on minutia and lack of excitement for meditating not just on God’s word but even just what He is doing as I type this piece. Discouraging is the lack of encouragement extended and received mutually from the saints not because of lack of the Spirit saying ‘care….care deeply.’ But because of a lack of transparency to empathize with others who you are just like, even if you did not carry it out the same way they did. Discouraging is the reminder of my own flaws, sins, and incorrect perceptions that I have not come to understand have been wiped away. Sometimes you feel like you are yelling into the wind with truth and we ought not be yelling truth alone. And then there is the need to wait, wait for a response, wait for the effects to kick in, wait on God’s timing, wait because you do not deserve it yet, wait because you’re not the only one involved.

You take all that and put it in a persecution theme and it makes me wonder if I am missing the point of what this life is really about. And I question whether I’d have that kind of endurance necessary to push through. In order that the faith (that is namely the Gospel) would continue down through time so that some more people in American would have the opportunity to receive life by God’s grace through the sacrificial gift of God so no one can boast?

I’d say no. But then I read Paul’s encouragement to the people of Colossae (Colossians 1:3-5) and I am reminded of what is necessary.

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you(all) in heaven and about which you(all) have already heard in the true message of the gospel
There is a hope stored in heaven. That hope is the longing for His appearing, it is the day when faith shall become understood that we are really redeemed, that as horrible and vile as we were we really been cleansed, that all that stuff we like to ignore about ourselves (and many times displace to others) has been paid for. He really really does love us, he really really meant it when He said ‘I am with always.’ He really did mean that the blessed ones are the ones who are persecuted for His name sake. He meant it that compassion and mercy is desired more than sacrifice and rule keeping. And most importantly that when he intended to use us to be the object of His glory we will really be the object that will forever be the masterpiece of His reputation.
Until this is the frame of reference for all of us, we endure incorrectly. I am realizing that I have not achieved that motivation for endurance. HOWEVER I see that this would be the kind of thing to make a man stand ready to be burned instead of denying Christ. There has to be this kind of Hope. This endurance is for something we do not have but it is so close to our reach. And it is this kind of hope that produces the right kind of love and faith. If you do not love God and others where you should, perhaps your hope is in the wrong place. I am not at this kind of endurance yet. But I have realized that I can not get there if you are not trying to get there too.
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