Developing Endurance

Read: Philippians 4:10-13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (v. 13)

My friend Clarke was a member of the Canadian triathlon team and trained for the 2012 Olympics. Every day, he woke up at 5:00 a.m. to swim a mile. In the afternoon, he biked 100 kilometers. I once asked him if he ever took a day off. No, he said, because taking a day off wouldn’t just set him back one day; it could take weeks for him to regain the endurance he’d lose.

In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul tells us that he has found the secret to contentment: he can “do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.” What Paul is describing here is spiritual endurance—the ability to stand firm in faith no matter what life circumstances he finds himself in. Paul’s endurance is not the product of his will but flows from his relationship with Christ.

This relationship is sustained through daily spiritual exercise. You can’t wake up one morning and suddenly decide to be a joyful, grateful person. If you want to be like Paul, you need to develop a training routine to build your spiritual endurance. Each day you can preach the gospel again to yourself. Let the promises of Scripture sink into your mind, memorizing them the way you memorize the lyrics to your favorite song, so that the gospel becomes the soundtrack that accompanies everything that you do. Spiritual endurance training begins with a daily routine of prayer, Scripture reading, and meditation.

As you pray, thank the Lord that in Christ, you can have the strength to endure all things.

About the Author

Jane Olson is a college counselor and high school teacher. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and children.

This entry is part 13 of 15 in the series Habits of a Thankful Heart