ENDURE TO WIN THE VICTORY
"Behold, we count them happy which endure" (James 5:11).
Are you in a contradictory position right now? Do the fabrics of your life seem to be opposing each other? If so, I have some encouraging keys to help you understand what is happening, why it's happening, and how to reach the finish line as the victor.
The Bible is laced with examples of men and women who received promises and dreams from God, yet temporarily their situation appeared to be the exact opposite to what was promised in their prophetic word. This seeming contradiction can be likened to the "transitional" phase of a pregnancy. Jesus tells us in John 16:21, "A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for JOY that a man is born into the world."
These contradictions must be faced with endurance. The two must work together to help us cross the bridge from promised word to actuality. The transitional phase of a pregnancy is the most serious and most painful, yet the woman must endure it in order to deliver the life God has put in her. Our greatest model is Jesus. "Looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who ENDURED SUCH CONTRADICTION of sinners against Himself, lest you be weary and faint in your minds" (Heb. 12:2-3).
CONTRADICTION AND SHAME
We must purpose to remember that at the end of the contradiction there is joy. Contradiction has an end, IF we do not try to work things out in the realm of carnal thinking. Abraham was given a prophetic promise from God that nations and kings would come through him, yet over two decades passed before the promised son was born.
Perhaps the most painful part of our contradictions is the accompanying shame. We all hate shame, especially when we are in God's perfect will and others do not understand what we are going through or why we are going through it. Abraham and Sarah obviously despised the shame when after ten years they implemented their plan to make God's promise come to pass, and as a result, created Ishmael.
One of our greatest temptations, a tactic of the enemy is to "quit in the middle". In the middle of a contradiction, our minds can become weary and too easily cause us to faint. The good news is that your endurance will weaken the enemy and turn the shame onto him. Your endurance inflicts pain upon the adversary and brings you to victory every time.
FINISHING WHAT WE START
A powerful example of finishing what we start and overcoming the enemy's plans against us can be found in Nehemiah 4:6-11. In this portion of Scripture, we're told that the wall that was being re-built was half-finished. The returning Israelites were in the "middle" of the work. The strength of the laborers was giving out. They even confessed that they were not able to finish.
Throughout the Scriptures, the Spirit of the LORD shows us how the enemy thinks. It is important to know this information in order to stay-the-course and endure the contradiction. Looking at Ne. 4:11, we can see the enemy's mindset. "And our foes have said, They shall not know, or see, until we come IN THE MIDDLE of them and kill them, and cause the work to cease" Neh. 4:11. Nehemiah and team were in the middle of the work. It was then that the battle became heated. "Endurance" and "standing" are the two major keys for victory.
STANDING IN THE MIDDLE
To encourage you further regarding endurance, refer to the story found in
2 Sam. 23:11 as the writer introduces us to one of David's three mighty men, "Shammah." In Hebrew Shammah has several meanings. One meaning is 'to be ruined," one means "to become numb," and another, "to stun." Have you been in a trial for so long you have become numb and even indifferent because you don't think God is going to perform what he promised? Let the story of Shammah encourage you today to stand strong and have your faith increased. Standing alone, Shammah was surrounded by a troop of Philistines. 2 Sam. 23:12 says that he STOOD IN THE MIDST of the ground (lentil patch) and defended it. Because he stood in the middle and fought, the Philistines were defeated. God wrought a great victory!
While you may feel numb, your endurance in the midst of your opposing circumstances STUNS the enemy. You may be facing devastating medical reports, financial woes, ministerial disappointment, family crisis or any number of other difficult situations. To have victory over these attacks, you must stand tall in the middle of "Ruin and Devastation" and watch God bring the help you need and the victory you long for. Having done all to stand, STAND (Eph. 6:13,14).
May you always be encouraged to stay the course and see the joy set before you. Look for the victory!
Blessings and Hope,