“The God of endurance and encouragement” (Romans 15:5)

“I give up.”  “This is a waste of time.”  “I quit.”  “I can’t do this anymore.”  We have all said one of these phrases, and if we have not verbalized them we have thought them.  Giving up is easy.  People give up on a job, a relationship, a marriage, exercise, learning something new.  Why do we give up so easily?  There are several reasons for that.  For one, we are afraid of failure.  We think it’s easier to give up than to admit failure.  We are afraid of others judging us, meaning we give others power to influence our decisions.  We grow weary.  We cease seeing value in something or someone.  We tell ourselves we can’t do it, or we’re just not willing to wait for the best results.  I could add more to this list, but let me just invite you to reflect back upon times when you have given up and add your own reasons.

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “I know what you mean.  I’m this close to throwing in the towel.”  We have all experienced the temptation to quit, but we don’t have to give up on something worth persevering through for.  A great deal of the problem is that we are putting all our expectations in our own endurance.  Human endurance is spotty at best. 

What we need is “perfect endurance.”  An endurance none of us have in our flesh.  That means we must look outside of ourselves for the endurance we need.  Our own character and strength just cannot hang in there the way we need to.  Whenever I find myself lacking something I need, I realize I must find that need outside of myself, and there is no better place to go find it than to God.  Hebrews 12:2 tells us this about Jesus Christ – “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross.”  In the archives of the history of man, many have said that the worse way to die has been crucifixion.  Crucifixion was the horrible death that Christ endured in order to deliver us from our sins.  Psalm 118:1 tells us “God is good.  And His love endures forever.”  God’s love never gives up on us no matter what.  I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life that I have not liked or loved myself.  Yet, God’s love for me has never failed.  He has never given up on me – and he will never give up on you. 

Whatever you are going through right now, I want to encourage you not to give up.  James 1:12 tells us, “blessed is the man who perseveres.”  II Thessalonians 3:13 says “Do not grow weary of doing good.”   Scripture encourages us to persevere.  And the best part of persevering is the fact that God gives us his powerful grace to do it, because He IS “the God of endurance and encouragement”