Romans 15:4-6, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In this scripture Paul emphasizes two necessary ingredients in our Christian walk – endurance and encouragement. Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us…to teach us endurance through scripture. Several people in the Bible come to mind when I think of endurance – Joseph (sold into slavery, imprisoned, 2nd in command in Egypt); Moses (at one point he asked God to show him mercy and kill him Numbers 11:15); Job (lost his children, his home, his livestock, his riches); and the author of this scripture Paul (suffered with an affliction which he referred to as a “messenger of Satan”).
The trials of life teach us to endure, to push through, to depend upon God for strength and an answer to the situations we face.
Encouragement comes in the scriptures, in comfort from God, in people who have battled similar battles, and in the promises that God is always near. The two go hand-in-hand. Endurance cannot exist without encouragement nor encouragement without endurance. Every time you reject the temptation to quit it stems from some form of encouragement.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a German Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident) said it best, “To endure the cross is tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ.”
When Jesus Christ faced the Cross, He faced it with courage beyond anything we can imagine. He faced it with love for us and for His Father so that in His suffering, God would be glorified. Through His endurance in suffering, we find hope, love, joy, and encouragement because the outcome was victorious; therefore, in walking with Christ, we are victorious in our sufferings as well. Simply put, He won for us. There could be no greater encouragement than to know in the end – WE WIN!!!
No matter what you are facing today, I want to encourage you. Don’t give up. Don’t feel you are alone. God will see you through it all and provide you with the encouragement you need to push through to victory.