“Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” (Rev. 13:10, ESV).
This verse is right out of a prophesy about the hardest times the earth will ever see, at the end of the ages. I’m kinda glad we’re not there yet. (How about you?) However, the principle still applies to our current hour. The intense times we are living through right now are also a call for our endurance and faith. (This call is addressed to “the saints.” Don’t feel like a saint? Well, you are anyway, if you belong to Jesus. His blood says so.)
So… endurance. Let’s unpack this concept a little more. “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy” (Col. 1:11, ESV). Do you see that there? Endurance doesn’t come from your own staying power. It comes from His glorious might working inside of you. In other words, it’s His provision from Heaven’s storehouse. He infuses you with strength, empowering you to persevere with joy.
Yes… “with joy.” Joy in times of trouble. Sometimes we think that the joy of the Lord is supposed to displace feelings of sadness during our trials. This may or may not be true, depending on the season you are in. “Endurance with joy” doesn’t mean the hard emotions aren’t there. They are. That’s precisely why it’s called endurance. You are enduring hard things.
Hard seasons cause hard emotions. Prolonged hard seasons cause prolonged hard emotions. Daddy does not want us to believe we are sub-par Christians when we wrestle long with sadness. Emotions are human. They are, in fact, a reflection of the image of God. He also regularly experiences the full, wide range of emotions.
God gave us emotions like His intentionally. This is because they are helpful. Sad, guilty, and angry feelings are alarm bells. They communicate something to us about ourselves. They let us know that something is wrong so we can address it. This is akin to how our nerve endings alert us to a surface being way too hot to touch. The very instant we feel the signal of pain, we jerk our hand away. In the same way, difficult emotions are signals from our soul. You could say that our soul, too, has nerve endings.
During this prolonged season of pain in our world, we have been experiencing a lot of difficult emotions. These emotions are messages. They are telling us that our soul has needs. They are inviting us to continue to press into God for the infusion of strength that He has for us, for our endurance.
And for our joy. We may continue to have surges of uncomfortable emotions for as long as the intense times last. But Holy Spirit is telling us that even as we endure through them, joy is available. Joy is deeper than our soul. Joy is in our spirit – the part of us where we have become one with the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 6:17). This is the core of us. Here, in our spirit, is where His living waters spring up to eternal life. They bubble up from the deepest part of us and infuse us with the joy that is our strength. As our spirit receives power from Him, it in turn permeates our soul (the seat of our emotions) with steadiness and endurance.
So… hard emotions… endurance with joy. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and. As we hold onto Him for dear life in the hard times, He provides the strength. He provides the power. He provides the joy. From the inside out, He gives us what we need to press on. He gives us what we need to overcome.
This Scripture we are looking at comes from one of those wonderful passages of the Bible where prayer is modeled. Holy Spirit, through Paul, wrote out His own prayer for each one of us. Jesus our Intercessor prays this for you and me, just as Paul did for the Colossians: “We ask him to strengthen you by his glorious might with all the power you need to patiently endure everything with joy” (Col. 1:11, GW).
Jesus is asking the Father to strengthen you even right now. How powerful it is when we join in His prayers! I would encourage you to pray this for yourself regularly, joining Him. “Abba, would you strengthen me with all power, according to Your glorious might, for all endurance with joy?”
Ask, dear one, and you shall receive. Daddy God has staying power ready to pour into the depths of your spirit, no matter what you are facing. And He has joy available for you today!
Do you often pray prayers from the Bible over yourself? If so, what is your observation about the fruits of doing so?