Be Patient and Stand Firm


Last weekend, the Ironman race was hosted in nearby Boulder, Colorado. The Ironman race is a triathlon consisting of 2.4 miles of swimming, a 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon; this is competition and endurance at its best.


bike raceWhile I admire the group of people who trained and participated in this remarkable race, there are others I admire much more because of their endurance.


The cancer patient who continues to come to work with a smile, all the while dealing with the nausea of her treatment. The single mom who works two jobs to keep her children fed and sheltered. The dad who continues to look for work after his company files for bankruptcy. And this list could go on and on.


And then there are those who are suffering for their faith. They wake up each morning knowing it’s probably not going to be any better, but they hold onto to one thing. Hope. Hope that it might get better in this world, but if it doesn’t, there is victory in life after death.


James, the half-brother of Jesus had seen the horrors of persecution. If he wasn’t at the cross, he heard of the cruelty placed upon his brother. He knew of the persecution work of Saul. Perhaps James heard Stephen’s words as the mob stoned Stephen. More than likely, James knew of the many being put to death for their faith and trust in Jesus.


And these are the words of comfort these persecuted believers heard from James. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised those who love him.” (James 1:2-4; 12 – NIV)


Finding joy in trials may be difficult, perhaps even impossible to our human minds. But over and over in Scripture we see the spiritual blessings we receive when we rejoice in all circumstances.


Perhaps the Apostle Paul encouraged the persecuted because of the persecution he himself had inflicted upon believers of Christ. We find these words of encouragement in Romans 5:3-4; Romans 8:35-39; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; Galatians 6:9; Philippians 3:14; Philippians 4:13; 2 Timothy 2:3; and 2 Timothy 4:1-5, 7. Paul understood hardship and trial. But he also understood that through God, endurance is possible.


We can find more encouraging words from the writer of Hebrews. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36 – NIV)


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 – NIV)


Crossing the finish line is the ultimate goal of any race. It’s no different for the believer. The only difference is that with eyes fixed upon Jesus, we are able to run the race well. We are able to put off the hindrances. We are able to hit the marks.


I don’t know what trials you may be facing today. I pray that you will find encouragement in Scripture and know to “be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:8 – NIV)


Grace and peace be yours in abundance,



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