The Greek verb hy·po·meʹno, literally meaning “remain or stay under,” is rendered ‘remain behind’ in Luke 2:43 and Acts 17:14. It also came to have the sense “stand one’s ground; persevere; remain steadfast,” and is thus translated ‘endure.’ (Mt 24:13) The noun hy·po·mo·neʹ usually denotes courageous, steadfast, or patient “endurance” that does not lose hope in the face of obstacles, persecutions, trials, or temptations.
Why Needed. Among the things Christians may have to face are indifference on the part of others, reproach, misrepresentation, intense hostility, hatred by close family members, mistreatment, imprisonment, and even death. (Mt 5:10-12; 10:16-22; 24:9, 10, 39; Mr 13:9, 12, 13; Re 13:10) This calls for endurance. Without this essential quality, a person simply could not come into possession of eternal life. (Ro 2:7; Heb 10:36; Re 14:12) This is because what counts is the finish, not how well a person may have started in the course of Christian discipleship. As Jesus Christ expressed it: “He that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.” (Mt 24:13) “By endurance on your part you will acquire your souls.”—Lu 21:19.
Persons who quickly accept “the word of God,” but only on a surface level, lack endurance. They soon give up under tribulation or persecution, losing out on God’s approval and blessing. But those who develop deep appreciation for “the word of God” endure steadfastly. They “bear fruit with endurance,” faithfully continuing to proclaim God’s message despite hardship, suffering, and discouragement.—Lu 8:11, 13, 15.
How Maintained. Contemplating the fine example set by God’s servants—the pre-Christian prophets, Job, the apostles Paul and John, and many more—and noting the outcome of their faithful course can be a great stimulus in maintaining endurance when one is experiencing suffering. (2Co 6:3-10; 12:12; 2Th 1:4; 2Ti 3:10-12; Jas 5:10, 11; Re 1:9) Especially should the flawless endurance of Jesus Christ be kept prominently in view.—Heb 12:2, 3; 1Pe 2:19-24.
It is also important never to lose sight of the Christian hope, eternal life in a sinless state. Not even death at the hands of persecutors can nullify this hope. (Ro 5:4, 5; 1Th 1:3; Re 2:10) The suffering of the present will pale into insignificance when compared with the fulfillment of that grand hope. (Ro 8:18-25) Against the backdrop of eternity, any suffering, though intense at the time, is “momentary and light.” (2Co 4:16-18) A person’s remembering the temporary nature of trials and holding fast to the Christian hope can prevent his giving in to despair and becoming unfaithful to Jehovah God.
Endurance in the Christian way is not dependent on personal strength. It is the Most High who, by means of his spirit and the comfort from the Scriptures, sustains and fortifies his servants. He “supplies endurance” to those who rely fully on him, and so Christians rightly pray for his help, including the wisdom needed to deal with a particular trial. (Ro 15:4, 5; Jas 1:5) Jehovah will never permit anyone’s being submitted to a trial that would be impossible for him to bear. If a person looks to Him for aid, not losing faith but trusting completely in Jehovah, the Almighty will make the way out so that he is able to endure.—1Co 10:13; 2Co 4:9.
There is no limit to the strength on which Christians can draw when undergoing suffering. The apostle Paul’s prayer for the Colossians was that they be “made powerful with all power to the extent of [God’s] glorious might so as to endure fully and be long-suffering with joy.” (Col 1:11) An example of this “glorious might” in operation is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and his exaltation to the right hand of the Father.—Eph 1:19-21.
Jehovah God and his Son want all to succeed. This is evident from the encouragement regarding endurance that Jesus Christ gave to members of Christian congregations at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.—Re 2:1-3, 8-10, 12, 13, 18, 19; 3:4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 14, 19-21.
Proper View of Trials. Knowing that a person’s eternal future depends on endurance and that he can be confident of assistance from on high, Christians should not dread trials and tribulations, resenting them or giving in to complaint, self-pity, or bitterness. The apostle Paul admonished: “Exult while in tribulations, since we know that tribulation produces endurance.” (Ro 5:3) Trials borne patiently and steadfastly with divine help reveal that a Christian possesses the needed quality of endurance—something that was not known in actuality and by experience before the tribulation began.
Endurance should be allowed to have “its work complete” by letting the trial run its full course without any attempts to use unscriptural means to bring it to a swift end. Then, faith will be tested and refined, and its sustaining power will be revealed. Areas of weakness may be exposed, putting the Christian in a position to see defects and to make needed improvements. The molding effect of trials endured faithfully can make a person more patient, sympathetic, compassionate, kind, and loving when dealing with fellow humans. Thus, by permitting endurance to “have its work complete,” a person will not be “lacking in anything” that Jehovah God looks for in his approved servants.—Jas 1:2-4.