Are You Enduring or Have You Grown Weary?
IT IS one thing to start a race; it is another thing to finish it as a winner. It is one thing to go forth into battle; it is another thing to return from it victoriously. Likewise it is one thing to dedicate your life to the doing of the will of God and to follow in Jesus’ foot steps, and quite another thing to endure therein as a winning runner, a victorious warrior.—1 Ki. 20:11.
Today, wherever we look, we see a lack of endurance. Ever so many students in schools and ever so many marriage partners show by their quitting that they cannot “take it,” they cannot endure. This tendency is to be seen even among some dedicated Christian ministers. Are you one that is enduring, or have you grown weary?
If you are among those that have grown weary, examine yourself, take an inventory. Ask yourself: Could it be that God no longer comes first in my life? Have I grown lukewarm like the members of the congregation at Laodicea? Has my appreciation of spiritual things decreased? Have I lost the love of God that I had at the first? Am I slowing down or perhaps even coming to a halt? If so, then look for the reason.—Rev. 2:4; 3:16.
Could it be that you have lost perspective and have become like the seed sown among the thorns, regarding which Jesus said: “These are the ones that have heard, but, by being carried away by anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life, they are completely choked and bring nothing to perfection”? Or could it be that you have forgotten that man does not live on bread alone but on every utterance proceeding from Jehovah’s mouth and so have neglected to take in spiritual food regularly, and, as a result, are now suffering from spiritual anemia? Could it be that the ways of this ungodly world, with its uncleanness and loose living, have regained their grip on you, so that you no longer feel comfortable in spiritual activities? Or could it be that opposition by acquaintances, relatives and others has caused you to become discouraged?—Luke 8:14; Matt. 4:4.
Regardless of the reason, spiritual weariness is a danger sign. It is an unhappy state that can lead only to disaster. So arouse yourself! Keep reminding yourself that there are at least three good reasons why you should be determined to endure and not grow weary: By enduring you share in the vindication of God’s name, making his heart glad and proving the Devil a liar when he boasted that no creatures could endure. By enduring you are able to help others to endure, both by your example and by your ministry. And by enduring you assure yourself lasting happiness and endless life.—Job 2:4, 5; Prov. 27:11; 1 Tim. 4:16.
JEHOVAH GOD PROVIDES HELP
Of course, you could not endure without God’s help; but of that you are assured. For one thing, he has provided his Word, the Bible. In it God encourages you to endure by holding out rewards: “He that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.” “You have need of endurance, in order that, after you have done the will of God, you may receive the fulfillment of the promise.” “Happy is the man that keeps on enduring trial, because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life.” Keep in mind that endurance is not merely a matter of survival, it is a matter of winning, even as the apostle Paul shows: “Do you not know that the runners in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may attain it.”—Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36; Jas. 1:12; 1 Cor. 9:24.
In addition to urging us to endure, Jehovah God through his Word gives us many encouraging examples of those who have endured, chief of whom is Jesus Christ. As he himself said: “I have said these things to you that by means of me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world.” Yes, as the apostle Paul admonishes us: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. . . . Indeed, consider closely the one who has endured such contrary talk by sinners . . . that you may not get tired and give out in your souls.”—John 16:33; Heb. 12:1-3.
Among other examples the Bible gives of servants of God who endured is Job, concerning whom the disciple James wrote: “We pronounce happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.”—Jas. 5:11.
Hardly less outstanding is the example of endurance that the apostle Paul gave. What he endured! “I five times received forty strokes less one, three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I experienced shipwreck, a night and a day I have spent in the deep,” to mention but a few of the things he endured. Nor would we overlook modern examples of endurance, as given in the recent past by the witnesses of Jehovah in Nazi Germany, and at the present time in Spain, in Cuba, in Portugal and in Iron Curtain countries.—2 Cor. 11:24-27.
By means of a visible earthly organization Jehovah God furnishes further help so that you might endure and not grow weary. This organization helps you to understand God’s Word and how to apply its counsel to your life so that you will be able to endure. For that purpose it publishes a veritable stream of Bible literature, such as this magazine you are reading, and arranges for five weekly meetings wherever possible, where spiritual strength can be gained to endure. This organization uses the Watch Tower Society as its legal instrument and is under the direction of the “faithful and discreet slave” Jesus mentioned at Matthew 24:45-47.
Further, Jehovah God has made available his holy spirit to help you to endure. As he foretold, his people endure, not because of a military force, nor because of any human, physical, material power, but by means of his spirit. His spirit upon his servants has ever enabled them to do mighty works and to endure.—Zech. 4:6.
DOING YOUR PART
While Jehovah does his part, that is not sufficient for you to endure. You must also do your part. For example, he provides the spiritual food and drink, but unless you put forth effort to partake of it, you will continue to be spiritually famished. So buy out time from other things so as to be able to read the Bible regularly and to study it with the helps that God has provided. Never let a day go by without taking in some such spiritual food. That is every bit as essential for you as it was for Joshua and the kings of Israel who were told to peruse God’s Word daily.—Josh. 1:8; Deut. 17:18-20.
Good as that is, however, it is not enough. You must also arrange your affairs so as to meet regularly with your fellow Christians, who, like you, are concerned with enduring and are in a position to help you and whose very example can encourage you to endure. They will incite you to “love and fine works,” and, in turn, you will be able to aid others. Christians are like the members of the human body; they cannot get along without one another.—Heb. 10:24, 25; 1 Cor. 12:14-27.
Further, to endure you must make yourself susceptible to and receptive of God’s holy spirit, for that is what gives you the strength to endure. Nor is prayer to be overlooked. And even as physical activity is essential to bodily health, so spiritual activity, in the Christian ministry, is essential to spiritual health.
QUALITIES AIDING YOU TO ENDURE
By taking advantage of God’s Word, association with God’s people, God’s holy spirit and prayer you will be able to cultivate the qualities that will help you to endure and not grow weary. Among such qualities are faith and hope. These enabled Abraham and Moses to endure long years in God’s service and they can help you likewise to endure. As the apostle Paul shows: “If we hope for what we do not see, we keep on waiting for it with endurance.” “We bear . . . in mind your faithful work and your loving labor and your endurance due to your hope.” Just as an anchor helps a ship to endure in a storm, so the anchor of hope will help you to endure the storms of life.—Rom. 8:25; 1 Thess. 1:3; Heb. 6:19; 11:8-10, 24-27.
Joy and contentment are two further Christian qualities that will enable you to endure. “The joy of Jehovah is your stronghold,” Nehemiah told his people. And of Jesus we read, “For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake.” As for contentment, along with godly devotion, “it is a means of great gain.” Contentment simplifies matters and makes it easier to endure the rugged life of a Christian soldier.—Neh. 8:10; Heb. 12:2; 1 Tim. 6:6, ftn. 1950 edition.
But above all, love, love for Jehovah, with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love of your neighbor as yourself, will help you to endure. If you love Jehovah your God you will want to please him, you will want to make his heart happy by keeping integrity, you will want to make known to others his name and his glorious attributes, and to do all that takes endurance. And if you love your neighbor as yourself you will want to help him to gain everlasting life by your example and your ministry, and that takes endurance. As we read, “Love is long-suffering and kind. . . . It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Yes, above all else, love will help you to endure!—1 Cor. 13:4, 7, 8; Matt. 22:37-39.
It is not easy to endure. But was anything worthwhile ever gained by following the line of least resistance? God does his part; you can do your part. For the sake of his name, for the sake of others and for your own sake, resolve that with the help of God you will endure!