Enduring to the End





"... run with patience
the race that is
set before us ..."
Heb. 12:1-3





Treasure of God

A Seaworthy Vessel

The Hearing Heart

Come Ye Apart

Kingdom Fruitfulness

The Habitation of God

Tears of Intercession

The Backslider in Heart

Fulfilling the Call

Running the Race

The Garden of the Lord

Weapons of Our Warfare

The River of God

'The Eyes of Your Understanding'

A Study in the Scriptures



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by the many choices we make daily.'








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E-mail Diane Dew




"... run with patience
the race that is set before us ..." Heb. 12:1-3





In the world of competitive sports, many very good and promising athletes will compete for a title and even dream of obtaining the prize. However, relatively few will pay the price of  the intense physical training and years of preparation that must take place prior to the competition. Even of those who try, many fall out of the race somewhere along the way.

   The New Testament draws a parallel from this metaphor, as to the endurance required of believers. (Mat 13:18-23) If we would partake of the Prize set before us, we must remember the words of Jesus: "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Mat 24:13; 10:22; Mark 13:13)

   In any contest, the important factor is not how many begin the competition but who finishes the race and completes the course, who wins the prize. Late in life, Paul declared, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness ..." (2 Thes 4:7, 8)

   Scripture says we are to "run with patience (endurance, persistence) the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith ... For consider Him that endured ... lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." (Heb 12:1-3)

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all,
but one receiveth the prize?
So run, that ye may obtain.
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
I therefore run, not as one that beateth the air:
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:
lest that by any means when I have preached to others,
I myself should be a castaway." (1 Corin 9:24-27)

   From these scriptures we see various aspects must be considered regarding the race "set before us" -- the need for endurance; the focus of our vision; keeping the rules; self-discipline; and the desire and determination to win. If we lack in any of these areas, we will become vulnerable to defeat and failure.

   Endurance, by the very sense of the term, implies the necessity of opposition. Jesus gave several promises "to him that overcometh" [1], but there must be obstacles, things to overcome, if we are to lay hold of the prize. Paul repeatedly exhorted belivers to "continue in the faith ... (for) we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:21, 22) "If we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end," then we shall obtain the reward. (Heb3:5, 6, 14) Again, the choice is ours, and it is conditional: "If we ..."

   The need for endurance in the Christian life is crucial. Whether we are aware or not, a continual warfare is taking place in the heavenlies. (2 Corin 10:3-5; Eph 6:12) Being a soldier is not enough to win the war. We must actively "fight a good fight!" (1 Tim 6:12) All the weaponry in the world will do us no good unless we actively resist the onslaughts and attacks of the enemy. (Eph 6:12)

   When Jesus encouraged the church in Philadelphia to "hold fast what thou hast" (cp. Rev3:11, "hold fast ... firm unto the end" [2]), he did not mean to simply remain at the same level of commitment and experience. We must not only maintain our present position but "go on" from there: continue.

Walking with God is an uphill climb. What Jesus Christ accomplished at Calvary must be worked in to our lives today. We "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior." (2 Pet 3:18) We are to ever be "increasing in the knowledge of God ..." (Colossians 1;10) Those "things that accompany salvation" are conditional, dependent upon our response: "if ye continue in the faith ..." (Col 1:23; cp. Acts 13:43; 14:22; Jn 8:31)

  At times, all we feel we can do, in the words of Paul, is "hold on." When it would be easier to "take a break," we must "press on toward the mark." (Phil 3:14) When no strength lies within us to complete the course, we must draw upon an inner Strength to sustain us. When we would have the tendency to look behind, and be content with how far we have come (or discouraged with the length of the way), let us look to Jesus. He is able to keep us from falling. And when we do fall, we must learn to get up again, and begin anew: "A righteous man falls seven times and rises again." (Prov24:16)

  Jesus did not quit when the going got tough. In his place of greatest need, stretched out on that cruel cross, his confession was not "I am finished" but "It (his task here on earth) is finished!" Here was a declaration of victory, not a confession of defeat.

Even with all the preparation and accuracy of "perfection" in any sport, unless one has the desire to compete and win, his training is useless. We can have all the know-how and go through the religious gymnastics of Christianity; but unless there is within us an unquenchable desire to "follow hard" after the Lord, to know him in his fullness, the final record will reveal our place as falling far short. Isaiah said, "the willing and the obedient shall eat the good of the land." (Isa 1:19)

  How far we will go in God is determined by the desire of our heart (Psalms 37:4) According to the words of Paul, God is at work in us "both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Phil 2:13)

   Many weeks, even years go into the training of a successful athlete. The actual competition or test of endurance, however, is often a matter of only a few minutes, even seconds. Jesus Christ was hidden away in the carpenter's shop till the age of 30, and even when he began his public ministry it only lasted for three years. Joseph served 14 years in a place he later was made to rule over. But those years were not wasted time. God was making him into the man he knew would be needed to fit the task. he could not enter into it unprepared.

  Noah invested a great length of time building an ark that was to keep him and his family alive for several months. Moses didn't receive his call till 40 years of age.

  God is at work in us now to prepare us for the days that lie ahead. We must not take lightly this time of preparation. God is patient, working for eternity, and his timetable is not like that of man. With him, "a thousand years are as one day." Centuries he waited before sending the promised Messiah, arranging events and preparing the hearts of this earth to receive that precious Seed.

  An important part of God's training program is becoming sure-footed Before we can compete we must become "established," firmly rooted, "grounded and settled in the faith." (1 Thes 3:13; 2 Thes 2:17; Col 1:22, 23; 2:7) This period of preparation is necessary to strengthen our spiritual muscles, "by reason of use," through practice (or, exercise -- Heb 5:14).

   In order to enter the race, or even qualify as a contestant, one must learn to cast aside anything detrimental to his program of training. Following Paul's exhortation of 1 Corin 9:24-27 is a chapter containing examples of certain pitfalls, things we must learn to "flee!" Some are blatant sin, others are simply "weights" -- but both, if allowed to continue, will deter our progress and eventually prevent us from coming through the line victoriously.

   As Hebrews 12:1 says, we must "lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run ... the race." Paul said not everything "lawful" (or, permissible) is "expedient" -- upbuilding or constructive to a life of faith and holiness in God. (1 Corin 6:12; 10:23) These things we must learn to leave aside and go on. The Lord wants to be able to present us to the Father "holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight: if ye continue ..." (2 Corin11:2; Eph 5:25-27; Col 1:22, 28; Jude 24)

"Thou therefore endure hardness ....
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life...
and if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned,
except he strive lawfully." (2 Tim 2:3-5)

   To qualify for the finals, one must abide by the rules of the competition. In God's kingdom, as well, certain laws and guidelines must not be violated. Jesus spoke of those who offered to work for him but did not complete the instructions. Afterwards, they "went their own ways."

   "Ye did run well," Paul said "who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" (Gal 5:7) "I marvel that ye are so soon removed ..." (1:6) "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?" (5:7)

Enduring to the End
   Many focus on the initial speed of their progress, but overlook one far greater factor of successful athletic competition: consistency. We may start out in the front lines, leading, but if our progress is not consistent -- if we become entangled with the affairs of this life (2 Tim 2:4; Gal 5:1) -- we will fall back as we weary with the stress of the race.

   Our lives in eternity are being affected now by the many choices we make daily. "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience (endurance), that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." (Heb 10:35-36)

..Copyright 1982 Diane S. Dew 


[1]  Revelation 2:7, 10, 11, 17, 25-28; 3:5, 11, 12, 21; 21:7

[2] 1 Corinthians 16:13; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:13; Philippians 1:27; 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Hebrews 3:5; 10:23; Revelation 2:25; 3:11