When Jesus first introduced the church in Matthew 16:18 He also made us three promises about the church. The church would be built by Him; the church would belong to Him and the church would not be overcome by the power of hell. These promises are for the Body of Christ at large, but I believe that they are also for each member of that Body (churches) and also each individual person that makes of His glorious Bride. I believe that one of the great and often overlooked keys to walking in the fulfillment of these promises is endurance. The Greek word that is translated as endurance in I Corinthians 13:7 is hypomeno and it’s definition in part is “to tarry behind; to abide, to not recede or flee; to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast.” Jesus’ promise to the church that “the gates of hades shall not prevail against it” is a promise to endure. There will be battles, there will be difficulties, there will be trials, but the battle is not left up to us and our strength, Jesus has overcome and He has promised that the church will also.
I believe that endurance creates victory and that love is the key to endurance. I Corinthians 13:7 says “Love endures all things.” Hebrews tells us that Jesus endured the cross, “for the joy that was set before Him”. Endurance is not about our strength, our stubbornness or our decision to just “grin and bear” it until something changes. Endurance is all about love. Because of God’s love for me I can trust Him when I don’t understand, I can stand firm when I feel overwhelmed and I can believe when everything around me says that the promise is never coming to pass. I encourage you today, hold fast to the love of God. His love for us endured the cross, endured the grave, endured every sin we have or will commit, endured our foolish ways and our faithless seasons. His love has endured to make us in His image and to call us the sons and daughters of God, trust His love and His Spirit in you to endure through your trials, through your difficulty and through your seasons of refining. Hold tightly to the promises, as part of His church Jesus Himself is building you, He calls you His, taking charge of you and He will not allow the gates of Hell to prevail against you. Maybe it’s too simple, but ultimately, endurance is trusting God’s love enough to believe, at all times, that He will do everything that He has said that He will do; His love never fails.