FOLLOWING IN HIS STEPS
Yeshua spoke many parables to the people emphasising the need for remaining faithful in serving Yahweh God and persevering through whatever trials may come, so as to endure to the end. It is one thing to be called and to set out on the course to attain eternal life, it is another thing to run the race to the finishing line and gain the prize of the inheritance which has been set before us.
Yeshua warned us that as His disciples we would have tribulation and persecutions. That as followers of Him, we would be subjected to many of the same things which He endured in the world, but with the assurance that He had overcome the world and that our lives are secure in Him (John 15:20; 16:33; 1 John 4: 4). He has imparted to us the power also to overcome all that may come against us and He will sustain us. Therefore, "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Yeshua, the author and the finisher of our faith" Hebrews 12: 1b-2a
"By your patience (endurance) possess your souls" Luke 21:19
If we set our heart to endure during tribulation, it will develop perseverance in our character (Romans 5: 3), which will enable us in working out the redemption of our lives, for the hope of eternal life (Romans 8:24-25).
James, the Lord's brother, tells us that trials actually work toward bringing us to perfection and therefore to rejoice, knowing that God will work through it to conform us into His likeness (Romans 8:28-29; James 1: 2-4)
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have her perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing"
He is enabled to do this in us only as we keep in a right attitude of heart, trusting in Him and relying upon His grace to meet our need. Being called to "be patient in tribulation" (Romans 12:12) actually means literally "remaining under" the tribulation, and being "gentle to all, patient" is "holding up under evil" in others (2 Timothy 2:24). If we react out of our human nature (the personality of the old man), what we reap will be according to the flesh and the experiences we go through will not profit us spiritually (Galatians 5:19-21).
We are kept by the power of God through faith, as we go through these various tests which are a proof of our calling to His eternal kingdom. The apostle Peter also calls us to "rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory," - knowing that the end result is the salvation of our souls from the fallen nature (1 Peter 1: 6, 8).
Peter's prayer was, "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Yeshua the Messiah, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." 1 Peter 5:10
No trial is naturally something to rejoice about and it puts to the test our commitment to walk in faith and not react out of our carnal nature. But, if we keep our focus on our eternal reward and the need to be conformed to His likeness, we shall be able to rejoice in hope that Yahweh God's eternal purposes are being worked out in our lives and that we are glorifying Him by patiently enduring in the test that is upon us.
"Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He is faithful that promised" Hebrews 10:23
"Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:" Hebrews 10:35-36
We can be assured that He is always faithful to His promises and we can rest assured that He will bring us through whatever trial we may go through in this life, to be conformed to His holiness at His coming.
"But the Lord is faithful, who also will establish you and guard you from the evil one." 2 Thessalonians 3: 3
"Now may the God of peace sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it"
Even when at times we may be overtaken by the weakness of our flesh, He still remains faithful to His Word. (1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Timothy 2:13)
"God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord." Our confidence must rest in His faithfulness not in our ability to be faithful, although He calls us to be faithful servants. Although we may fall short, it is the intent of our heart that matters (1 Corinthians 1: 9).
"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful" 1 Corinthians 4: 2
"Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Yeshua the Messiah, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him" Hebrews 3: 1-2
We have set before us the example of Yeshua, who finished His course with the joyous expectation of the many sons that He would bring into the Father's glory at the end of His assignment.
Taking His example we are exhorted not to be weary or discouraged if the way seems hard to our human nature, but rather, to deal with the weaknesses of our flesh and anything in us which weighs us down and slows our progress to reach the finishing line. (Hebrews 12:1-3). We are to look unto Him and consider the things He endured to purchase our salvation, knowing that He partook of flesh and blood like us and knows what it is to endure trials and testings.
"Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in all things pertaining to God" Hebrews 2:17
Seeing that He stands as our High Priest, we can come to Him to succour us in our time of need, so that we can draw upon the strength which He is able to impart to us (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15).
Yeshua's final prayer in this life to the Father, was centred around those who had followed Him receiving their final inheritance and coming into His glory. He interceded to the Father to that end, that He would keep them and sanctify them so that it would become a reality in their lives. "Father I desire that they also whom You have given Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."
"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.
"And for their sakes, I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth." John 17:17,19, 24
This was in accordance with His promise that, "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour." John 12:26
The reward which Yeshua said that He would give when He returned, will not be based on the quantity or the greatness of the things which we have done for Him, they will be based upon how faithful we have been to the things which He has commissioned us to do, either directly to us, or indirectly in the written Word. He will take account of His servants when He returns according to their abilities and the opportunities that they had to serve Him and He will reward each accordingly.
See the parable of the talents - Matthew 25:14-30
The measuring rod is based on enduring to the end, both of each assignment that comes into our hands and also enduring to the final day, either of our death, or of His return.
"He that endures to the end will be saved" Matthew 10:22 "Who is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes." Luke 12:42-43
"Therefore be patient, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. .. .. .. " James 5: 8b
Yeshua said that He would reward His faithful servants with this commendation -- "Well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." Matthew 25:21
The risen Lord commissions us, "Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life." Revelation 2:10