Here’s a message I shared at Every Nation Church Singapore last weekend (December 4th 2010).
Lessons of endurance from the life and the writings of the apostle Paul.
Here’s a break down of the points of the message so that you can follow along if you want to listen to it:
Symptoms of Decline
Let’s look at some of these symptoms of decline to see what might be hinderances to us reaching for the aforementioned goal or the prize that Paul talks about in Philippians.
1. Arrogance – First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. (Proverbs 16:18 – The Message)
2. Blind to what God sees – A sign of decline is you begin to become blind to the way God sees us (our identity in Christ) and blind to the way God sees the world (our love for one another). Like the “Patch Adams – Dr Mendelson 4 finger test”. How aware have you been of what God is saying to you and through you?
3. Comparison In a world that presses upon it’s inhabitants to compare one to another through media pressure to conformity, or peer pressure, the tendency is to compare with others either in pride, or in complaint for what one doesn’t have. Do you have a tendency to compare?
4. Denial of Warning Signs Whether these warning signs come from those who love us, through statements, or through even your own conviction, have you taken heed of these warnings?
5. Exhaustion A crippling sense of an inability to carry on. You ever felt this way?
Enablers of Endurance
Lets now look at what supplements a Christ follower in maintaining a lifestyle of endurance and strength for the completion!
1. Face the Facts – Do a spiritual dipstick test like a mechanic checks for oil levels. Do you have a relationship with God, and if so, how is your relationship with Christ?
2. Go the Distance – Excuses have no place when a quality decision is made. Have you made a decision of resolution to NEVER GIVE UP?
3. Humility – Always choosing in everything to take the high road, which is sometimes harder. Thinking of others much higher than yourself.
4. Inspire Yourself – Do you rely on others to keep you constantly inspired? Or do you seek God yourself for His supernatural inspiration?
Paul modeled endurance
Paul speaks a number of times about running a race as a metaphor for life (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and 2 Timothy 3:7 for example). With many opportunities to give up in his own race, after countless amounts of persecution and the lure of carnal success, Paul chose to run the course marked out for him, which would eventually end in death.