Endurance (#28)

When I no more can stir my soul to move,
And life is but the ashes of a fire;
When I can but remember that my heart
Once used to live and love, long and aspire,—
Oh, be thou then the first, the one thou art;
Be thou the calling, before all answering love,
And in me wake hope, fear, boundless desire.
George MacDonald

“And the devil ended every temptation …” (Luke 4:13, ESV)

Jesus now has fasted forty days. His spiritual and physical senses are heightened. He no longer hears the Father’s voiced approval of his son, but the voice of the devil. The devil takes him to the temple.

The devil again challenges him to prove that he is God’s Son. Jesus is exhausted from fasting and fighting. Even his mind is stretched to its limits as his enemy uses all his subtlety against him.

The devil ended, and Christ continued. Jesus displays the ultimate resilience. One of the last weapons that Jesus uses against the devil is endurance.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Eph. 6:13, ESV)

In his essay, “Our Second Wind,” F. W. Boreham wrote there are three types of extraordinary people. There are those who do extraordinary things. There are those who do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. And there are those who ordinary things with extraordinary endurance.

Boreham places David Livingstone firmly in the third category. Livingstone did not distinguish himself in his studies, although he worked hard. He was not from a noble family, but had to toil at a cotton mill to win bread. But in the great work of his life, he showed unprecedented endurance. Through a desert that even African chiefs said no one could cross, through thirty bouts of malaria, maimed by lion attacks and scorched by the tropical sun, Livingstone trudged on with his twofold goal of defying the slave trade and opening the way for missions.

Livingstone wrote that he endured because of Christ’s word, “I am with you always.” The risen and victorious Christ made that promise as a condition to the Great Commission. It is the Great Condition without which the Great Commission would be impossible for us. Because Christ endures, we endure.

There is an end to all the devil’s works, and Christ outlasted him there in the desert. When all else is done, may we stand firm.

Jesus, thank you for your promise that you are with us always. Help me to endure through my difficulties, trusting in your promise.

Amen.

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