Monday, May 19, 2014

Endurance and Constancy
He who endures to the end shall be saved…
Let me begin this post with my own admission.

There are many things our Lord Jesus has made very clear in the scriptures concerning how we should be spending and not wasting… His Life.

He did not leave our daily existence up to our own imagination. It seems we are living our current life one of two ways. Either this life is for our enjoyment and self gratification or… it is primarily for His desire and preparation for the next. If we agree this present life is mainly preparation for the life to come, then there are important mandates how we should live it.

Our Father has been dealing with me on a few of those mandates that I have not completely come to terms with in my actual experience.

Commands such as ….
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.   Mat. 5:48
...but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,   1Pe_1:15 
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1Co 10:31 

I have lived my life trying to fulfill those commands for the last forty-four years and yet they still trouble me. I suspect they probably will, till I see Him face to face and my final sanctification takes place. Understand, those verses are not just about our conduct here on earth … they’re about our spiritual growth and future usefulness.

Now… please don’t confuse what I’m saying concerning our soul's spiritual growth with our gift of Eternal Life. We are talking about salvation, which is more encompassing than just possessing Eternal Life. Being born again is a gift from God that we had no part in obtaining nor can we in any way improve upon. It is His finished work of redemption for all those that truly love Him. He alone can give new birth. We all start out heavenly infants.

Yet, when you reach heaven… is the life of an infant all you want? Or have you fallen for the unspoken, false but widely believed 'Poof' doctrine. You know... though our entire lives were spent on earth seeking temporal self-gratification God will one day wave His hand over us and Poof!... we're spiritual!  Poof! we're reigning with Christ. Poof!... all our carnal thoughts and desires are changed into the very thoughts and desires of God. Poof! Poof! Poof!  

Our Father’s desire was and is, like any good parent, to have fully spiritually matured sons and daughters and that never... in heaven or earth... comes form dad waving his hand over our heads.

…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine (or Facebook platitudes), by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting…    (Eph 4:13-14)

Christ Himself learned obedience (hearing and doing the will of God) through suffering... do we think our heavenly Father made a shortcut for us?

...though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Heb 5:8)

I am sure there are those, upon hearing this exhortation, will quickly rush to the false feelings of safety that comes from a wrong understanding of who these verses were written to….

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2Co 3:18)

But consider the ‘we all’ in the above two passages and similar verses are not written to just anyone. Rather, they are written to those who daily seek His maturity to be accomplished in their lives. It is written to those who daily give themselves to God and not seeking their own temporal gratification or conformity to this world’s system.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:1-2)

Without this transformation (metamorphosis) we will not know His will for our lives, and concerning that transformationyou really will reap …what you sow.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, (Gal 6:7-8)

Yet, even those seeking the path to spiritual maturity will find it fraught with misconceptions, difficulties and trials.

Like the Apostle Paul, before his conversion, I have found so much of my desire ‘not be a part of this world’ and to ‘fervently do God’s will’ was expressed through the nursery school of abstention or practicing of outward religious things instead of practicing the patience (endurance and constancy in seeking spiritual truth) that leads to inward spiritual revelation and thus maturity in the seeker.

Like, David the Psalmist, I too have repented earnestly while praying for mercy and forgiveness in the zealous religious sins of my youth.  

Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O LORD. Psa_25:7

I have tried to live my life in pursuit of what is His good, acceptable and perfect will while resisting the powerful conforming forces of a world ruled by Satan. There is a direct link between cultural conformity and  lack of spiritual growth.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2)

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway (or power) of the wicked one. 1Jn_5:19 

I have come to realize that without daily resisting these innate urges (to be accepted, to be liked, to look good, to ‘succeed’ in the eyes of my peers, to conform to cultural norms or to avoid alienation and persecution, there will never come the transformation of the soul (will, emotions and mind) that allows a person to see what Christ meant by what He taught. I realized if I continued seeking the acceptance and approval of men… I would always remain a spiritual infant. Being born again… is not enough… nor was it ever meant to be.
And do not be conformed to (or shaped by) this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Rom 12:2)

I am also fully aware that the fulfillment of these commands requires both faith and patience. Patience in the New Testament means endurance and constancy not a willingness to wait. Without our endurance and constancy in seeking the knowledge of His will, His virtues will never become an integral part of our nature. 

There are things we must do in addition to our faith.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (2Pe 1:5-7)

Patience (endurance and constancy) is part of the salvation of our souls. Being born again… is not enough… nor was it ever meant to be.

By your patience (endurance and constancy) possess (acquire or win) your souls. Luk_21:19 

I know that in some mysterious way the patience and faith that I must daily exercise… is not even really mine … but is found inside of Christ.

Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience (endurance and constancy) of Christ. 2Th_3:5 

Yet the warning is clear.  For those who would say  "I'm not worried … it’s all been done for me… I just need to believe". Understand the word sluggish in the verse below means we can become dull, lazy and stupid. This letter was written to born again Christians. In other words… though Christ has given us everything we need to preserve and develop our souls, if we don’t daily exercise those things we will become … dull, lazy and stupid. Asking Jesus into our heart years ago and professing we’re a Christian… will not assure us our inheriting the promises.

That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Heb_6:12 

Make no mistake… acquiring our souls and having the transformed into something, that is perfect, complete and lacking nothing … requires daily focus in this life. Do we desire to be perfect … as our heavenly Father is perfect? There will be no Poof in heaven! It will require our daily endurance and constancy (patience) in pursuing the things of God in the here and now. It is His patience and faith being daily worked out in your daily life that brings spiritual maturity. Don’t waste His Life!

But let patience (endurance and constancy) have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Jas_1:4 

So… you might be asking … what are you getting at?

What I’m trying to get across is this… we cannot pursue spiritual maturity and temporal gratification at the same time. Every day through our complacency or diligence concerning spiritual growth we are being conformed into one of two images.

Either that image will reflect (knowingly or unknowingly) the self-gratifying, self-serving, self-exalting image of an infant or … the self-less spiritually mature image of Christ.

Never think that your diligent obedience doesn't matter concerning the salvation (or preserving and developing of your soul). It is neither those who merely hear His word that will be justified… nor those who fail to endure to the end that will be saved… but rather those who persevere in the things of God. This requires faith and patience (endurance and constancy). That’s why patience (endurance and constancy) are needed for our soul (mind, will and emotions) to be preserved (saved).

But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Mat 24:13)

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Rev 14:12)

May the Holy Spirit illuminate our heart to see and pursue the maturity our good Father desires for all His children… and may we not waste the precious gift of Life He died for, that we might obtain the fullness that is found in Christ.

The StoneHouse Family

1 comment:

  1. Thank u Abba for reminding us of the simple and most common scriptures that we all take for granted! God is not letting me be silent, nor dull, nor lazy! Praise God! God's timing is always the best timing! We love u and Amma and miss u both. May our Father give u strength and endurance and patience for the complete work u r doing. Blessings to u my friend and brother.