2 Corinthians 6:3-4
But in everything we try to keep on commending ourselves as ministers of God must do—in much endurance, amidst the things which press sore upon us, in the inescapable pains of life, in anxieties…
It’s funny, I don’t think I’ve really sat and pondered that the Christian life is one of endurance.
Yet endurance is a vital and foundational requirement for life, if it is to be lived well at all. The Bible tells us that those who persevere to the end will be saved.
We must finish well.
The word Paul uses for endurance here is hupomone, which describes the ability to bear things in such a triumphant way that it transfigures them and transmutes them. We could say it is Triumphant Christian Endurance.
Paul starts his list of just what we need this hupomone for with three internal conflicts of the Christian life:
The things which press sore upon us. This is sheer, physical pressure on a person, the things which weigh down your spirit, the sorrows which are a burden on your heart, the disappointments which could just crush the life out of you, the sheer pressure of the demands of life. This triumphant endurance can cope with them.
The inescapable pains of life. The Greek word anagke literally means the necessities of life. Some burdens you may escape, others you cannot. There are certain things a person involved in the human situation must bear. There is sorrow which inescapably comes to every person. If it hasn’t come to you yet, it will.
The anxieties of life. The word Paul uses, stenochoria, literally means a too narrow place. Life has its moments when a person feels shut in, suffocated, when life induces in you a kind of spiritual claustrophobia, when it seems the walls of life are closing in around you. Even in such a situation as dark as this, the triumphant endurance makes you able to breathe, to breathe in the presence of God and the spaciousness of heaven.
Oh how we need this supernatural hupomone to live our life in the midst of inevitable troubles, so that we do not lose heart and just give up, but rather persevere to the end and finish well!