My mother is of a generation that puts much stock in stoicism. Striding forward while putting up with all manner of inconveniences and tribulations. One day, several years ago, mom said to me, “I’ve decided I’d rather be endearing than enduring.” This made me smile because she actually is rather endearing without even trying. But I did understand what she was trying to process. She wanted to apply her will to intentional kindness rather than getting on and getting through with a “stiff upper lip.”
The truth is, you can’t be anything, in the end, without being enduring. Perseverance in any direction requires endurance. When I titled this website “Cultivating Faithfulness,” it was because I wanted the little-by-little tending of the things that really matter to become a bedrock of character and a triumph of God’s faithfulness to keep me in the everlasting way.
Our endurance in the way He’s carved for us will be to the praise and glory of His name. This race we run, we run by faith. Paul said in Galatians 2:20 “And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Jump ahead to Hebrews 11:1, and we see that “faith is the substance of things…” I am not a bible scholar, and there is much I do not know or understand about the Scriptures, but what the Lord Himself has revealed to me regarding the faith He Himself has given me is that only faith gives substance to my relationship with Him. I receive all His benefits by faith, and without faith, I do not know either how to receive or that the gift is actually from Him.
All my choosing, then, must be in faith. Whether I am cooking dinner for guests, folding clothes for my husband, or paying for the person’s groceries in the line behind me. Even the more difficult choices, such as admonishing my children, putting distance in a toxic relationship, leaving a beloved city to follow the Lord, all these things, I do by faith because Jesus loved me and died for me. I leave all the effects of these acts of kindness to Him. Indeed, they only become acts of kindness because of God’s love. They only have substance because I believe His love for me, and His love for them.
Now I don’t mean to say that God is not substantive unless I believe Him. I mean to say that God is not substantive to me unless I believe Him. The stamp of God’s endearing kindness is on mom, and indeed on all of us, whether we know it or not. If we live by faith in God, then we partake of His nature and character as we run the race set before us. So, let us, dear one, run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1).
Until next week, beloved, put one foot in front of the other and let faith make you alive unto God.