Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Love - Part 14: Endures All Things

Love . . . endures all things
1 Corinthians 13:7

Here is the last of the “all things” phrases. And this one focuses upon our response to outward circumstances. Endurance. 

The Greek word from which “endures” is translated is hupomeno, and as used here in 1 Corinthians 13, it means "to bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere" (taken from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Vines Expository Dictionary states that this “hupomeno” denotes “to abide under, to bear up courageously” (under suffering).

The majority of verses that use this word 'hupomeno', refer to endurance being the mark of a follower of Christ and endurance in response to sufferings. Such is seen in a verse in Hebrews where the believers had “endured a great conflict of sufferings” (Hebrews 10:32). 

In the letter to the Romans, Paul encouraged them to “Be . . . rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,” (Romans 12:10, 12).

But why is endurance important? Our human nature is to buckle and break under adversity and persecution; to give in so that the pressure against us will cease. Why would we want to endure? First of all, the Lord has instructed us to. For that reason alone, out of our love for our God, we should strive to endure whatever circumstances He allows into our lives. 

As we endure, this also finds favor with God . . . it is pleasing to Him: “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” (1 Peter 2:20).

The Lord has also promised that “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

As believers in Christ, we are guaranteed persecution: “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12; see also John 15:20 and Acts 14:22). This persecution is something that we can know will come upon us as we walk in obedience to our Lord. Knowing this, we can decide even now how we will respond. Will we endure? Or compromise? Will the endurance be with joy and patience? Or will we grumble and complain?

In Scripture, we are given so many encouraging and convicting examples of those who persevered and endured under trial. Paul for example shares that he was:

 “beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-27). 

Wow, that is quite a list of things to endure and to have weighing on ones’ mind! Yet what was Paul’s response to all of these? He counted all things as loss for Christ (Philippians 3:7-8) and stated that he was “well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake;” (2 Corinthians 12:10a). 

With this heart, Paul was able to declare: “. . . I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:10)

Paul is an excellent example of one who endured much adversity. Another is found in the life of a man whom James makes mention of in his letter: “We count those blessed who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (James 5:11).

The list of things that Job endured is quite impressive:

--The loss of his livestock (Job 1:13-17)
--The loss of many of his servants (Job 1:13-17)
--The loss of his physical wealth (Job 1:13-17)
--The loss of his sons and daughters (Job 1:18-19)
--Rejection and derision by family, intimate friends, servants, strangers (Job 19:13-19)
--Sore boils over his entire body (Job 2:7)
--His flesh clothed with worms and a crust of dirt (Job 7:5)
--The anger and rejection of his wife (Job 2:9-10, 19:17) 
--The condemnation of his friends (Job 16:20 and seen throughout the book of Job)
--He was a taunt and a byword (Job 30:9)
--Spit at and abhorred (Job 30:10)
--Burned with fever (Job 30:30)

Job was rejected by all those whom he loved and held dear, had extreme physical pain and illness, had lost his physical wealth . . . yet, he endured.

The last phrase of verse 11 in James chapter 5 (quoted above) is the encouragement that can help us to likewise endure: “You . . . have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” 

Through whatever circumstances the Lord allows into our lives, He is all-loving, all-compassionate, all-merciful, and He is right there with us (Matthew 28:20). He is upholding us in His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). He is our strength, our rock, our refuge (Psalm 62:6-8) . . . our ever present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

It is through Him and the strength that He alone provides, that we can love through enduring. That we can bear up under trials courageously, giving praise and glory to the Lord through the trials as we trust in Him.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

-Posted by Sarah


  1. A very challenging post, and surprisingly appropiate for me at the moment. Thank you for posting it.

    I am altogether too apt to buckle under difficult and stressful circumstances (which are nothing really when compared to what Job went through). Thankyou especially for the encouragement toward the end of the post.

  2. You’re welcome, Anna!

    It was challenging and convicting for me, too, as this is certainly an area where I struggle at times! We will be praying for you that with whatever the circumstances are that you are going through, that the Lord will give you strength and endurance as you rest in Him!

    Thank you for commenting and for sharing your heart with us!