Last night at an Area Bible Study that I lead we had a discussion on the difference between two significant words found in the biblical book of James. The difference comes from the various translations you would use.
James 1:2-4 (NASB) – Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4 (NIV) – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Now, this is not a discussion on what translation of the Bible is better or best. Instead, I want to talk about the meaning (personally) we can glean from the two words.
First, perseverance; to me implies that I am the one responsible for the outcome. If I just try hard and produce the will power needed I can do anything. What’s more, if we fail at achieving the desired outcome then we start to hear this in our head; “You suck, try harder.” That type of thinking usually sends us into a mental loop of depression and discouragement.
However, endurance (to me) has an entirely different meaning. Endurance implies long sessions of training, the right kind of nutrients being introduces into me (mental fuel or physical fuel), and strategic partnerships for when I’m weak during the process.
Perseverance seems to be a one-time act; “I persevered over temptation today.” While endurance seems to be a long-haul philosophy; “I endured the ups and downs of parenting three children.”
I guess endurance means a lot to me because I’m an endurance athlete. I just completed a 30 mile Mt Bike race in 2 hours and ten minutes (no it’s not the best time but it was a legitimate time for a 46 year old). In order to complete the race in that time I had to DEVELOP endurance over time (years). I couldn’t just show up to the race and PERSEVERE myself to the end of the race in that time – I would have probably died. No, I had to work out for months, I had to learn new strategies, I had to depend on the others around me (even if I didn’t know them; it’s called drafting in the racing community), and I needed encouragement from others when I was weak.
By the way, starting this December I will be training for a 99 mile race, the Lutsen 99. There are things I have learned about completing a 30 mile race and a 50 mile race that I will use in training for the 99 mile race. However, there are things that I don’t know about training or competing in a race of that distance. There are new things I will need to learn. One of my favorite leadership quotes is this; “What got me here won’t get me there.”
As you look out at your life this week, month or even year ahead; where do you see you need to develop endurance? You might want to consider setting up a few sessions with me in the office or in a Zoom online conference room. Just like in Mt Biking for me, there are probably areas of your life where you don’t even know what you don’t know. I can help you to develop the endurance you need to get to the next level.