What Do We Know of Endurance?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

To endure means “to carry through despite hardships; to suffer patiently without giving up.” In short, it means to hold on or hold out, but this word means little to the present generation. Many Christians today are quitters. They quit on their spouses, their families and their God.

Peter addresses this subject by saying, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth’; who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:19-23, NKJV).

The apostle Paul similarly commands, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). Finally, the Lord himself gives us this promise: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).

What is your hardship? Is your marriage in turmoil? Is your job in crisis? Do you have a conflict with a relative, a landlord or a friend who has betrayed you?

We are to take hope. Just as Paul’s suffering never let up, neither did his revelation, his maturity, his deep faith and his settled peace. He said, “If I’m going to be a spiritual man — if I really want to please my Lord — then I can’t fight my circumstances. I’m going to hold on and never quit. Nothing on this earth can give me what I get from God’s Spirit every day in my trial. He’s making me a spiritual man.”

Paul’s life “breathed” with the Spirit of Christ. So it is with every truly spiritual person. The Holy Ghost pours forth out of that servant’s inner being the heavenly breezes of God. This person isn’t downcast; he doesn’t murmur or complain about his lot. He may be going through the trial of his life, but he’s still smiling because he knows God is at work in him, revealing his eternal glory.

A Personal Revelation of Christ

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

If you are a preacher, missionary or teacher, you have some questions to consider. What are you teaching? Is it what a person taught you? Is it a rehashing of some great teacher’s revelation? Or have you experienced your own personal revelation of Jesus Christ? If you have, is it ever-increasing?

Paul said of God, “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts17:28, NKJV). True men and women of God live within this very small yet vast circle. Their every move, their entire existence, is wrapped up only in the interests of Christ.

To preach Christ, we must have a continuous flow of revelation from the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we will end up repeating a stale message. “For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:10-13).

Such revelation awaits every servant of the Lord who is willing to wait on him, believing and trusting the Holy Spirit to manifest to him the mind of God. We must preach an ever-increasing revelation of Christ, yet only as that revelation effects a deep change in us.

Paul voiced his personal concerns about this very topic. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Paul certainly never would have doubted his security in Christ; that was not in his mind here. He dreaded the thought of standing before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged for preaching a Christ he did not really know or for proclaiming a gospel he did not fully practice.

We cannot continue another hour calling ourselves servants of God until we can answer this question personally: Do I truly want nothing but Christ? Is he truly everything to me, my one purpose for living?

Guarding What God Has Deposited

Gary Wilkerson

In Paul’s letters to Timothy, he described how to identify false teachers and then charged his young protégé, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11-12, ESV).

My Dad taught me this: The hungry, seeking heart can have as much of Jesus as it wants. Don’t be satisfied. Go all out! Pursue a true life with Christ. Get more of Jesus. Fall in love with Jesus. Seek the Father in the morning and the Holy Ghost in the afternoon and Jesus at night. Spend your whole day wrapped around Jesus, being filled with him.

I think that’s what Paul was calling Timothy to here.

Taking hold of eternal life, the life in Christ to which we were called, means making Jesus everything in your life. Jesus is my all-in-all. Jesus is in every part of my life. Paul was saying, “Man of God, pursue that with everything in you. Let that be your passion, and those virtues of righteousness, godliness, steadfastness will be like live coals in your heart. Blow the wind of the Holy Spirit on them. Allow the Holy Spirit to breathe on you afresh once again so that fire never grows cold, the embers never fade but rather continue to burn. You put fresh firewood on that thing.”

A little later, Paul used even stronger language in his commands to Timothy. He said, “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge,’ for by professing it some have swerved from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

Paul was saying that there’s responsibility in your life. It answers the question: If discipleship is totally up to God, then why are some Christians radical, full-on disciples and others are not?

I would say it comes down to this issue that Paul is talking about in his letters. Are we pursuing the gifts of the Spirit, chasing more of Jesus’ presence in our lives and holding fast to our faith? Are we guarding the new life God has put into us?

Hope that Shines through Darkness

Keith Holloway

Dear believers, I want to tell you today that you've got something that the sinner doesn't have, something incredibly valuable and powerful, something you must know. As a child of God, you are and have incredible blessings!

Now many of you may be thinking that I’ve lost my mind because of how many troubles and trials and darkness that you’re facing. Unfortunately, some of that is the reality of life, but there is something that is equally true and, in fact, is a far surpassing truth for us. Every person whose life is hidden with God in Christ has been given undergirding power and authority of God. Now that’s a blessing!

The scriptures teach that we must declare what God has promised us. There is no extremism in that statement. Remember, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21, ESV). It is part of our diving inheritance, secured by Jesus Christ. Peter wrote to the church, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5, ESV).

Peter wanted the church to know that even during their troubles and trials, the darkest hour is right before the sun comes up. He wanted them to know that they had been born again to a living hope. Hope is an expectation of God's good coming to us no matter how deep the darkness. Declaring in faith the hope-filled promises of God will sustain us.

We have a living hope. We've been born again into that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Bible says, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:14-16).

You should greatly rejoice in the fact that you've been born again and that Jesus Christ has given you abundant mercy and imbued you with the power of God that raised Christ from the dead.

He dwells with you. He dwells in you.

A Perfect Heart Is Trusting

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The Psalmist wrote, “Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you delivered them. They cried to you, and were delivered; they trusted in you, and were not ashamed” (Psalm 22:4-5, NKJV). The Hebrew root word for ‘trust’ suggests “to fling oneself off a precipice.” That means being like a child who has climbed up into the rafters and cannot get down. He hears his father say, “Jump!” and he obeys, throwing himself into his father’s arms.

Are you in such a place right now? Are you on the edge, teetering? You may have simply resigned yourself to your situation, but that is not trust; it is nothing more than fatalism. Trust is something vastly different from passive resignation. It is active belief.

As we hunger for Jesus more intensely, we will find that our trust in him is well founded. At some point in our lives, we may have thought that we could not really trust him, that he did not really have control over the big picture and that we had to stay in charge. Growing closer to him and getting to know him better changes that.

Eventually, we will not just come to him for help when we are at the end of our rope; instead, we begin to walk with him so closely that we hear warning of trials ahead.

The trusting heart always says, “All my steps are ordered by the Lord. He is my loving Father, and he permits my sufferings, temptations and trials but never more than I can bear. He always makes a way of escape. He has an eternal plan and purpose for me. He has numbered every hair on my head, and he formed all my parts when I was in my mother’s womb. He knows when I sit, stand or lie down because I am the apple of his eye. He is Lord not just over me but over every event and situation that touches me.”

True trust releases in the heart the greatest power God can assign to mankind, greater than power to raise the dead or heal sickness and disease. When we are truly relying totally upon God, we are given a power that restores broken hearts and lives, a power that brings a special kind of glory and honor to our Lord.