Daily Endurance Test

What Obstacles Stand in the Way of Your Daily Endurance Test?

Sunday Scripture

It’s been so long since I administered a standardized test to a first grader that I had almost forgotten the most crucial skill being assessed is a little boy’s ability to sit still for twenty to thirty minutes at a time while attending to academic material. Even with frequent and very stimulating breaks–butterfly catching, one hundred pushes on a swing, a walk up Windy Hill–my grandson was visibly exhausted by the time we finished. But he did finish, and he finished well.

In the striving that characterizes my spiritual formation, I am frequently on par with that distractable and wiggling-in-my-seat first grade child. Maybe I can resist temptation’s first wave, but, to be honest, I am likely to tap out in the second round. After all, the old confess-and-repent routine is so easy, so available. Do I really need to ride the bucking bronco of temptation to its mastery?

The old confess-and-repent routine is so easy, so available. Do I really need to ride the bucking bronco of temptation to its mastery? (Hint: See Hebrews 12:4)

The writer of Hebrews was addressing a cadre of battered first-century believers somewhere in Palestine or the surrounding region. (Scholars differ.) With the prospect of intensified persecution in the wind, and the memory of Stephen’s and James’s (and so many others’) martyrdom fresh in his mind, the author jolts his readers with this rallying cry:

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin…”

Hebrews 12:4

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, that’s an understatement!”
In my own case it certainly is. Could a careful observer detect even an iota of “striving against sin” in my following life? (Certainly, there’s no bloodshed here!) Or have I become so accustomed to presuming upon the grace of God that I skim over the surface of my days barely aware of the lapses and the losses for God’s kingdom?

How Can We Pass the Daily Endurance Test?

Sobering thought, but as I watched my grandson persevere in saying “no” to himself, I was challenged and chastened by my own flabby resistance to the enemy of my soul. With so much at stake, then, what’s the mindset present in a following life characterized by fervent “striving against sin?”

Hebrews 12 points us toward Christ:

…let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith… 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

When the siren song of temptation is all you can hear, consider Jesus.
When angry words rise up in your throat against unjust treatment (or simple annoyance), consider Jesus.
When the day has become too long and you are considering checking out, numbing out, flaking out on your commitment to righteousness and sober living, instead consider Jesus.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.”
But he did…
So that YOU could.

May the grace of Jesus Christ be with you,

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54 thoughts on “What Obstacles Stand in the Way of Your Daily Endurance Test?”

  1. The Hebrews 12:4 speaks volumes to me today. Thank you.

    Sorry for the link up not being ready at Sunday Scriptures Link Up. I fixed it, and added yours. 🙂
    Have a happy week.

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  2. Indeed I have not shed blood. Thank you for this encouragement to resist the distraction temptation. I found the first grader example entirely too relatable! 😂 convicted!

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  3. I’m almost embarrassed to realize how much needed this reminder was for me today. So grateful that I can rely on God’s grace to help me endure the striving against sin and throwing off obstacles.

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  4. Michele,
    When I talk with the Director of our school in Pakistan, any notion of having it hard vanishes from my head. Though we may not have to persevere through the shedding of blood, our battles with the enemy of our soul can be intense. He loves to use distraction and temptation. Thanks for a reminder to stay the course no matter what rabbit trails our minds and hearts may want to scamper down.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  5. Very soon we Christians may face persecution beyond revulsion and derision. May we stand strong, courageous, righteous, and holy against the darkness around us! Turning away from temptation now is certainly of value in the present, but it’s also good training for developing stellar character, in preparation for what may come.

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  6. Thank you for this reminder. It’s easy to become complacent in our first world insulation. And I could re-evaluate my reactions to a certain autistic 15 year old who really likes to be contrary and mouthy at the moment. 😉 Pray that I’d have more patience with him.

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  7. It’s not just first graders who cannot sit still 🙂 I’ll be thinking on these passages this afternoon for sure. He endured so much so that we would not grow weary and lose heart, yet sadly I do. So grateful for His sacrifice on my behalf.

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  8. I like the analogy with a first grader being easily distracted when it comes to our own spiritual life. Very true that the first wave of temptation is easiest to resist and subsequent ones can be more difficult! #MischiefandMemories

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  9. Michele loved this analogy of your grandson’s perseverance in his test. I, too, am ashamed to admit my resistance to temptation is not on par with your grandson’s at times! Thank God for His strength in times of weakness!

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  10. Well said, Michele. I could just picture your grandson’s struggle to stay focused enough to finish the test. Then I imagined the little girl in me who struggles to fight the constant distractions to stay focused on Christ and the prize set before me.

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  11. I can just picture that wriggly 1st grader! I think we must all have a bit of the wiggles and jiggles just waiting for a moment to break free and distract us from what is ahead. The trick is being able to hold off from distraction until a designated break in the day. I’m enjoying my break right now reading your post 🙂 Thank you for joining us for #mischiefandmemories

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  12. I love the comparison between our spiritual endurance & a little boy trying to sit still & focus on academic material for 30 minutes! As a mum to an adopted nearly 7 year old who has great difficulty sitting still, this really speaks to me!!

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    1. I have found that dealing with my kids (and now grandkids) and their restlessness has given me a greater compassion for those who simply cannot focus for long periods of time.

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  13. Distractions and maintaining focus are a battle in themselves! Whilst children are young we must help them make the most of their potential and direct them so that they persevere rather than giving up. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories

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  14. Great post, Michele. I feel like with all things in life that we must fight against, the threat of becoming lazy is always lingering and I honestly think laziness is one of our greatest downfalls as humans. We have gotten too lazy to do the hard work when it comes to introspection and staying the course and doing the right thing. Fighting the good fight is a never ending battle and we can never allow ourselves to get too lazy in the fight for that is where the evil will sneak in! Thanks for sharing your powerful message and linking with me.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  15. What a great visual to bring that verse to life, “After all, the old confess-and-repent routine is so easy, so available. Do I really need to ride the bucking bronco of temptation to its mastery?”

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