What is the definition of “ENDURE”?  It is a verb, denoting action, meaning to carry on through despite hardships or misfortune without yielding, to put up with, suffering, to tolerate, to continue to exist, to last.  Now, that’s what the Lord Jesus had in mind when He was asked what would be the sign of His coming, and the end of the world.

In Matthew 24:3-13, Jesus gave the disciples the answer to their question.

 3  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

 4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

 5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

 6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

 7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

 8  All these are the beginning of sorrows.

 9  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

 10  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

 11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

 12  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

 13  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

I didn’t see ANYTHING in that passage that was good or pleasant to go through.  So many preachers today preach the “bless me, bless me” message, and indeed God DOES want to bless His people, but the hard truth is, salvation is not for the faint of heart.  Now don’t get me wrong, we aren’t saved by our works, but only by the blood of Christ Jesus, but there is a cost of discipleship.  Our salvation did not come cheap and easy to Jesus, and according to this, it won’t come cheap and easy to us, either.  It isn’t that we must EARN our salvation, because we can’t.  None of us are “worthy” to be saved.  We were altogether born in sin, and we’re sinners to the core.  Our very nature that we’re born with is absolutely in opposition to God, and that’s why Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”

Jesus went on to explain in John 3:1-8,

 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

 2  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

 3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 

 4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

 5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

 6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 

 8  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

            It isn’t until one is “born again” that the trouble begins.  You see, while you were part of the world, the world accepts its own, but once you are a “foreigner”, that is, one NOT of this world and this kingdom, that you are thrust out.  And “thrust out” is an accurate term.  It isn’t like “ignored” or “left alone”, or anything like that.  This world’s kingdom is run by the devil, and anyone choosing to leave his kingdom and join the Kingdom of God is in for a rude awakening.

Have you ever taken a cat and vigorously rubbed its fur the wrong way, then thrown it into a tub of water?  Does the cat take that well?  No?  why not?  Because it’s against its nature, and if you’re close enough, you’re going to find the cat has claws if you happen to be in the way as it exits the water.  For the most part, cats don’t like being wet, and the devil doesn’t like being around God’s people.

Many have told me, “Since I found Jesus, I haven’t had any trouble.”  I don’t know what Jesus you found, perhaps Jesus Manuel Gonzales, but certainly not Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  The very nature of being “born again” should tell you something.  You’re no longer welcome in THIS world.  Being born again plants a seed in you; and you begin to find repugnant the things you once enjoyed.  You find even your old friends don’t feel “right” anymore when you’re around them.  Kind of like trying to screw a left hand threaded nut onto a right hand threaded bolt, no matter how you try, it just isn’t going to work.  And to top it off, you’ll find yourself wanting to warn others to leave the kingdom they’re in, and moving over into God’s Kingdom, because even though THEY don’t see the danger they’re in, YOU see it, and want to help them.

Now of course, there are those who just go on their merry old way after being “born again”, and there isn’t really any difference between the “old” version, and the “new” version of that person, which indicates to me that they weren’t really “born again” in the first place, but are still the “old creature”.  And those are the ones that never struggle against the lusts of the flesh or hunger and thirst after God.  Oh, they may love to go to church every week, but it’s like this, having a box of wrenches does not make you a mechanic, any more that going to church makes you “born again”.

If the devil isn’t actively warring against you, then you’re no threat to him whatsoever.  Think about it; if an enemy comes to conquer a country, and the people don’t rise up and fight, the enemy just pretty much leaves them alone, sets up his rules, and expects the conquered people to live by them, because they are too cowardly to oppose him.  And their lives are left to them pretty tolerable, however, they are NEVER free to do what they want.  But those who decide they will not have the enemy rule over them are in for a fight to the death. They will either be victorious and have their freedom, or they will die trying.

Getting back to the “ENDURE” part.  When you enter the military in any branch, one of the first things you will learn in basic training is to “ENDURE”.  That isn’t a vacation.  You will be pushed to your physical and mental limits.  Then the fun begins, because you’ll be pushed WAY beyond your limits, and you’re NOT going to enjoy it.  Your new “normal” will be strength many times more than the OLD you.  It doesn’t come easy.  And being a disciple of Christ Jesus doesn’t come easy, either, as you would see if you study how the twelve disciples lived and died.

You can read about the Apostle Paul, what he endured and suffered for the Kingdom of God.  He was once a highly respected member of the religious elite, but once he surrendered to Christ Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life became one hard time after another, prison, beatings, stoning, shipwreck, betrayal by former countrymen, enduring heat, enduring cold, in hunger and thirst and need often, yet he was the poster child for the word “ENDURE”.

How and why did Paul endure?  He saw something in Christ Jesus, that few ever see.  Do you think Paul would have endured what he did for “nicely thought out fairy tales”?  No, when he became a disciple of Christ, even though he was thrust out of his house on easy street, he was endued with power from heaven.  His words were not just empty word, they were filled with the power of God, which enabled him to overcome all the schemes of the devil and be victorious.  At the end of his life, when he knew he was about to be martyred, he said in his second letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-8,

 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

 2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

 3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

 4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 

 6  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

 7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

 8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

You see, enduring hardship for the LORD is but for a season.  Don’t be discouraged or surprised by the trials the devil throws at you.  He’s trying to make you give up surrender and fall in rank in his kingdom.  He wants you to be blind to the reward that God has stored up for you in heaven after you have successfully endured and kept your testimony for Christ Jesus.  Will it be easy?  No.  Will it be worth it?  A million times YES!

But don’t think God is going to leave you powerless to fight your enemy the devil.  The devil’s  weapons of warfare are carnal, that is, he can only use what is common to man to try to overcome you.  But YOUR weapons are supernatural, the very power of God,  to the pulling down of the devil’s strongholds.  Which means WHAT?  It means if you apply what God supplies you, you shall be an OVERCOMER!   Paul never backed down for a moment, but went ever forward conquering for the Kingdom of God.  He never spoke of giving up or giving in, no matter what he went through.  His heart was set on the prize of the Kingdom of God set before him.  Do what Paul did; ENDURE UNTO THE END, and become an OVERCOMER!  You can do it, Jesus believes in you!