Colossians 1:11 says, “Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.” Grace is the catalyst for endurance with joy. I think back to the folks in Hebrews 10:32-33. In their reproaches and tribulations, they endured great struggles with sufferings. It set them up for what verse 34 says, “For you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods…” Why? The verse goes on to say it was because of their eternal perspective.
The writer was encouraging them to maintain that perspective. Verse 34-35 says, “…knowing that you have a better and enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” The next words are timeless truths that we need to take to heart in our own trials.
Verse 36 says, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Our trials are the will of God. They are never punishment. They are loving corrections administered through His heart for us. They are His best, and through them He supplies what we lack.
The word ‘endurance’ in the Greek means ‘to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances, not with passive complacency, but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat’ (my Bible’s note about hupomone). Let’s take Jesus’ example of endurance. Hebrew 12:2 says, “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore…” What is the therefore? Verse 15 says that we have a High Priest that can empathize with our suffering. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree…” Not just your sins and mine, but the sins of everyone in the world. Think of the most despicable person. He bore their sins. The anguish He went through is not comprehended by us.
Back to our verse in Hebrews 4:16. We are bid to come boldly to His throne of grace, “…that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Paul learned a huge lesson from his thorn in the flesh. It was when he acknowledged his weakness, God’s grace was there to sustain him and help him endure.
Ephesians 3:16 Amplified says, “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the (Holy) Spirit (Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality).” His grace-strength comes to reinforce our inner being so that we are able to endure with joy. Joy is the high water mark of one who is an authentic follower of Christ.
Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Matthew 6:20-21 says to, “…lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 says that we do that, “While we do not look at the things which are seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 1 Peter 1:8 says, “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”