Hebrews 12:1-2 1THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, 2Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
After we learn to put aside the things that weigh us down, and the sins that crop up to try and stop us, the next thing to learn is that we must patiently endure. To endure means to experience exertion, pain or hardship without giving up, or to survive over a period of time especially when faced with difficulties. When we can keep going despite the obstacles that come our way we are patiently enduring. Romans 5-3-5 gives a great understanding of how endurance can be beneficial to us. 3Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. 4And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. 5Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.
This passage tells us that when we walk through pressure or hardship it produces a patient and unswerving endurance in us. Look at the next part though- that patient endurance develops maturity of character. When we keep going in the face of adversity, when we keep running regardless of the difficulties that are in our way, we come out on the other side with greater character- approved faith and tried integrity. I don’t know about you, but I have been through some trials in my life where I didn’t have a real understanding of this. Looking back, because I didn’t stand strong in the midst of the pressure, because I didn’t endure, my character was definitely not developed. When I look back I just think- “Man, that season really stunk”, or “What a time of pain in my life”. Now I am learning when the pressure shows up to stand firm no matter what is going on around me. I want to make sure when I look back next time, that even though maybe the circumstances weren’t great, that something in me was developed as a result of my endurance. I am not sure I’m quite at the exulting and rejoicing in the trials and sufferings part yet, but I’m getting there. One step at a time, right? Next time a little affliction shows up in your life choose to endure, choose to allow it to increase your character. Choose to keep on running your race no matter what comes to try to stop you.