Impact

Ultra-Christianity: Part 2 – Endurance

As I mentioned in the introduction blog post, each blog post in this series will be a topic or lesson God showed me while training for an ultra-marathon, in the order in which He showed me.  The blog posts are roughly divided into two sections:  the topic and how it applies to running and how it applies to the Christian walk.

The first topic I recall God bringing to my attention was drawn from this verse in Hebrews:

“…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1

As I mentioned in the introduction blog post, each blog post in this series will be a topic or lesson God showed me while training for an ultra-marathon, in the order in which He showed me.  The blog posts are roughly divided into two sections:  the topic and how it applies to running and how it applies to the Christian walk.

The first topic I recall God bringing to my attention was drawn from this verse in Hebrews:

“…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1

 The writer of Hebrews chose an athlete to bring his point across, not just any athlete, but a distance runner.   I thought about it a lot during my runs: “Run with endurance”.  Since I am a distance runner, “running with endurance” resonated with me. But what does “endurance” really mean?  Although I have ran several marathons in the past and put many miles behind me, did I know the fullness of the word?  How can I experience “genuine endurance” and understand what the writer of Hebrews meant and why he chose that word.  The Greek word for endurance is:

Hupomenous – which means “continue despite opposition”.

Endurance is the ability to withstand prolonged strain. Endurance implies you are enduring something that is not easy, not common, something very, very difficult and you are being opposed along the way.   So, one of the first lessons was to understand how endurance applies to the Christian walk.  I recall discussing endurance running with my wife Mandy, and she said to me (with great insight, I might add) it will be like this: “during your 50 mile race, you will come to a point when you can’t go any further, you will hurt so much and your legs will not want to take another step.  Your entire body will be screaming to stop, but, you will have to pick your leg up and take another step, then another, and another, until you reach the finish line.”  First of all, I was amazed that she had this type of understanding.  Secondly, she was right.  I came to that point in the race, it was about at the 45 mile point.  The outside part of my right knee started to ache.  I shifted my strides more to my left leg so it can bear most of the weight. Then a little further, the outside part of my left knee started to ache.  I came to a point where I needed to stop running for a moment.  It didn’t seem too bad, so I started again, then stopped, then picked my legs up, one in front of the other and pushed forward.  Needless to say, the last 4 miles or so were excruciating.  Physically, I believed I learned a lot more about endurance than I previously knew (e.g. maybe even more than I wanted).

Regarding endurance in our Christian walk, God wants us to press on, particularly when facing adversity.  If you are a Christ follower and if you desire to live in obedience to God’s Word, you will be persecuted.

“Now in fact all who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  – 2 Tim 3:12

We can’t just give up or stop because something is uncomfortable or difficult.  If we are doing something that we know is His will, then we are to endure, “continue despite opposition”.  Hebrews 12 is a call to run with endurance “Let us keep running … with endurance”.  I started to see it spelled out in several  other places:

 “But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that.   Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness.”   – 1 Tim 6:11

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance. ” – Rom. 8:25

“Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope."  – Romans 5:4-5

 “This requires the steadfast endurance of the saints – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to their faith in Jesus. ”  – Rev 14:12

Pursue endurance; wait with endurance; embrace endurance; obey God with endurance!  If we start to apply what we know about true physical endurance into our Christian walk, we start to see what is required of us in a spiritual sense.  To be obedient to God, it is clear endurance is a vital element.  It’s one of the distinctive characteristics in Ultra-Christianity.

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Questions on Endurance:

1)      What does the word “endurance” mean to you?

2)      Have there been times in your life where you had to apply endurance, if so explain?

3)      What adversity or persecution have you faced in your Christian walk?

4)      Were there times when you gave up, and looking back you should have pressed on?

5)      How do you pursue endurance?

6)      What does endurance produce?

7)      What does God promise to those who persevere?

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4 Comments

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    Mike Cha

    thank you

    Thom,

    Thank you for that powerful illustration on endurance. I could almost feel the pain in your knees after mile 45, and this translates well into the spiritual endurance we all need.

    Thank you also for the description of "hupemenous" and all those encouraging Scripture passages on endurance.

    =) 

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    Mandy Garrett

    Since I am your wife, I may

    Since I am your wife, I may be partial, but I really like the way this message pulled out how significant endurance is in Christian walk.

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  • Avatar

    thom.garrett

    re: since I am your wife

    Mandy (명옥),

    Thanks for being there and encouraging me through the training and race, and being part of my eveyday life!

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    thom.garrett

    re: thank you

    Mike,

    Thanks for reading.  I trust the Lord will continue to show you as he did me.

    Thom.

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