3. Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience
Paul’s third admonishment for living a worthy life, is for us to have great endurance and patience. Our culture demands quick results but this fast pace, expect-it-now culture can have a negative spiritual impact as it breeds complacency and the false expectation that everything in life should be easy. This is neither reality nor beneficial to our Christian walk.
We hear of fantastic stories of people being radically changed in a moment and then wonder why change isn’t as quick for me? There must be something wrong with me. In my experience, most change occurs over time as we endure through life’s struggles. But why would a loving God make us endure such hardships when he has the power to solve our problems now?
In the movie ET – the Extra Terrestrial, a young boy named Elliot comes across a stranded alien in his shed. Do you recall how Elliot lured ET into his house, up the stairs and into his room? He used Reese Pieces. By placing small piles of the candy near the shed; then into the house and up the stairs, he was able to lead the alien into his room.
If Elliot intended to give ET all the Reese Pieces anyway, why didn’t he just pour the entire bag of candy out all at once near the shed? Wasn’t he going to give it to him anyways? However, would ET have entered the home and arrived where Elliot wanted him to be? And more importantly, would they become friends had he not distributed the candy like he did?
Oftentimes, God’s grace come through a similar method where God dispenses victory in our lives as we endure and are patient. The reason God does it this way, is that he is not just meeting our needs, but transforming us into his Son’s likeness and this process happens over time. In God’s Kingdom, we grow and mature through endurance and patience; it is the primary method of how He molds us into His likeness.
Corrie Ten Boom was an incredible woman of God who lost her family during World War II as they were sent to a Nazi prison camp for hiding Jews in their home. Her amazing story is documented in both the book and movie, The Hiding Place. She tells a story that when she was a young girl, she feared that she wouldn’t be strong enough to endure being a martyr.
“Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?” Her father asked.
“Why, just before we get on the train.”
“Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run out ahead of Him. When the time of need comes, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need — just in time.”
After her release from the concentration camp that killed her sister, she penned, “God will give us the grace and power we need — the money for the train ticket will arrive just the moment we are to step on the train.”
I recall a time as a young man where I was going through a situation that I had prayed earnestly and repeatedly for God to change. But nothing happened. Finally, I gave God an ultimatum to either change my situation or remove me from it. I’ll never forget God’s response to me, He said that He, “was going to change me and then use me to change my situation.”
God wants to give us incredible victory as we patiently endure. Whether your struggles are with school, work, family, your faith, finances, relationships or your thought life, seek him for the strength you need to endure and be patient.