Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Most Challenging New Year's Resolution Thus Far - To Define "Endure" Properly

At the beginning of the year, when I wrote my New Year's Resolution post, I realized that this month's resolution would difficult to define properly - at least, to define in such a way that I believed would be both practical and acceptable to me personally.  This was because I do NOT want to pray for or request additional things to "endure" in my life, since, as one of my favorite scriptures says in Matthew 6:34:

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I have enough things to "endure" that I don't need more - and, yet, 1 Corinthians 13:7 does say that charity "endureth all things". 

For this initial post, I want to share just one thing that hit me as I contemplated this dilemma:

1) When I looked at the various definitions of "endure", one in particular caught my eye - particularly as it relates to the idea of charity enduring all things.  It was, quite simply:

to continue to exist or last 

What hit me in this definition is that there is not hint of negativity or "struggle" or suffering inherent in or necessary to continuing to exist or last.  In other words, "endureth all things" does not have to be about increased pain or heavier burdens.  It can be nothing more than the idea expresed in Pslams 119:112:

I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

Translated into the context of my New Year's Resolution, it would read:

I have inclined mine heart to act in the ways outlined in the previous descriptions of charity alway (to internalize charity so that it will become a "natural" part of my very character), even unto the end.

In other words, perhaps the idea of charity enduring all things is more of a qualitative, longitudinal statement than it is a quantitative measurement.  Perhaps it relates more to the statment that "God is love" - and the idea that we should strive to emulate and become like Him - than to the idea that the amount of our suffering is more important than how we deal with whatever we are given to endure.  Perhaps enduring ALL things inlcudes blessings and things for which we naturally are grateful - since they also can change us and take us away from charity, if we allow them to do so.  Most importantly, perhaps, is the idea that there is an element of conscious choice in this type of character development - that I can choose to "incline my heart" to react in a charitable way.

I have come to believe that "enduring more things" (as an initial step toward enduring all things) is a perfect concluding resolution for this year.

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