The Joyful Grace of Endurance

It has been a few hot minutes since I last sat here to jot my thoughts and there is so much I have to tell you but one thing is pressing to the forefront of my mind today. This is what is driving me to take a few moments to pound out on the keyboard what Jesus has pounded into my soul this morning. For the past several days and weeks, He has been opening my mind and understanding of the nuances of the Spirit–His Spirit–and the Fruit of the Spirit. I say “fruit” (singular) and not “fruits” (plural) because that is how Jesus spoke through Paul to pen them and they are the singular fruit of His presence in our lives. These differ from the gifts (plural) of the Spirit that we all have at least one of and none of us has all of them. The Fruit of the Spirit is present in all of us at the moment we turn to Jesus and accept His sacrifice for our sins. All nine of the fruit of the Spirit is given as one evidence of His presence in our lives. We possess all of them because He possesses us and He is the Fruit of the Spirit.

For the past few days, Jesus has been unpacking the truth about Joy. This fruit is listed second in the list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23, nasb

One of the things we know about love is it endures (I Corinthians 13:7). Joy, like love, endures. For the Joy set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Our trials and sufferings do not last because joy endures and outlasts them all.

If only we would get a glimpse of this truth and recognize the fleetingness of our struggles. Our mindset would change. We would see the trials as something other than a death knell to all we know and expect. We would see them as the grace that shapes us into His image and know they are more fleeting than our life. We would embrace them as ambassadors of His grace and presence in us. The very same Jesus that endured more than we ever will endured the cross for us, to make our endurance possible. It is possible to endure the most stinging trials because His very life indwells us.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

2 Corinthians 4:17 nasb

If we want the eternal weight of glory, we must endure the light and momentary afflictions. How much sweeter the glory when we endure with grace and joy. (A side note here: the Greek word for grace often carries with it the idea of joy.) If and how we endure is our choice. Choosing to endure with joy makes the trials softer–not necessarily easier–but our focus changes from us to Him and the sting diminishes as our focus is the Joy of Jesus’ Presence in the trial.


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