Life is challenging. Patient endurance helps guard against becoming angry, frustrated, or bitter when we face difficulties and troubles. When we display patient endurance, we are following the example of Jesus.
Because of technology, we can get information faster than ever. But much of life still requires patient waiting. No one likes to wait. And no one likes to face trouble. So it’s especially difficult when we must wait for trouble or difficulty to end (in other words, when we must patiently endure). It feels unfair, especially when there’s no clear (and fast) solution.
Some troubles and challenges are a result of our own decisions (like when we procrastinate, then find ourselves scrambling to finish things at the last minute). Some troubles and challenges are a result of the world’s craziness (like when we are mocked or ignored because of our beliefs or convictions). Some troubles and challenges are a result of the world’s brokenness (like when someone we love is physically sick). Some troubles and challenges are a result of bad decisions or sin (like when people feel hurt and lonely because of betrayal or unkindness).
Sometimes we must patiently endure the absence of something good. Sometimes we must patiently endure the presence of something difficult.
God does not promise his children that they will live easy-peasy, trouble-free lives. Just the opposite, in fact. Jesus, Paul, and all the other writers and teachers in the Bible make it very clear that life is hard and we are going to face lots of difficult things. But it also says, over and over again, that God will never leave us or abandon us and that nothing can ever separate us from his love.
Followers of Jesus are called to abide in him, trusting that he is good, that he is with us, and that he cares. Without that kind of trust, we won’t be able to patiently endure the hard times of life. That kind of trust includes surrender — setting aside our own plans as we wait for God to guide and lead us. And as he leads, we are called to obey. Trust, surrender, and obey — these are all in the center of the Head-Heart-Hands model. They are the core of our true identity as a follower of Jesus and child of God. They are possible only because of love — because of how much God loves us and how faithfully we love him in return.
According to the Bible, faithful endurance is not just an outer display of discipleship. It’s also a main way that God forms us into faithful disciples. Read the scripture passages carefully. Patient endurance changes us into the people God wants us to be.
Patient endurance is a very big deal in our speedy want-it-need-it-now world. It's only possible with the Holy Spirit's help.
Begin with a conversation starter, then use these warmup questions.
READ & REFLECT
Use one or more of these passages to see what scripture says about spending time in worship. You can also engage with the passage by copying out part of it, rewriting it as a prayer, rephrasing it as its opposite, summarizing it with a single word or phrase, making a list or chart of similar and dissimilar things, or turning it into something visual like a doodle, design, or flowchart.
JESUS' EXAMPLE: Read Mark 14:32-40 (Jesus praying before his death)
POSITIVE EXAMPLE: Read Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:22-43 or Luke 8:40-56 (Jesus and the bleeding woman)
NEGATIVE EXAMPLE: Read from the story of Jonah (an Old Testament un-prophet whose story is a type of parable that teaches how much God loves those we hate and challenges us to trust God’s plans). You can read the whole story, or choose a specific section to discuss the following things:
TEACHING PASSAGE: Read Psalm 13
How long, oh Lord (describe a difficult situation, struggle, or worry):
But (list some reassuring and comforting truths about God:
SOME IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO GROW IN PATIENT ENDURANCE
MORE VERSES ABOUT PATIENT ENDURANCE (from NLT)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (Romans 5:3-4)
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. (Colossians 1:11-12)
Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4)
May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)
Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent Instead you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. (Hebrew 6:11-12)
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)
…let us strip off everything that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4)
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:3)
In view of all this [God’s good gifts and love for us] make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)
I John am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. (Revelation 1:9)
I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance… (Revelation 2:2)
I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. (Revelation 2:19)
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Downloadable Capernaum version of this lesson.
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