You Have Need of Endurance

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  1. The Race Set Before Us

 “...there arises in the Western societies a generalized culture of expressive individualism, in which people are encouraged to find their own way, discover their own fulfillment, ‘do their own thing.'  …I mean the understanding of life which emerges with the Romantic expressivism of the late-eighteenth century, that each one of us has his/her own way of realizing our humanity, and that it is important to find and live out one's own, as against surrendering to conformity with a model imposed on us from outside, by society, or the previous generation or religious or political authority."—Charles Taylor, A Secular Age

"The modern person who sees personal human flourishing as his or her highest commitment then sees every relationship or obligation (personal, relational, religious, or communal) as merely and only an enhancement to the primary commitment to personal flourishing. …Christianity is not a means to human flourishing. In fact, Christianity instructs us to die to self, consider others more important, turn the cheek, offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, enter into weeping and sadness with others. This, of course, creates a conflict with the modern ...[which] sees God and neighbor as enhancements that we can take or leave when they become burdensome or demand sacrifice… When these 'enhancements' begin to impede our 'flourishing' by asking for sacrifice and demanding discomfort, the temptation will be to put off faith as an intolerable intrude… This may not be a conscious or explicitly stated condition, but it is the way hearts are formed in the West today..."—John Starke, Preaching to a Secular Age

  1. The Marriage Race

“…the differences between men and women will become an unavoidable issue in every marriage. Failure to come to terms with it is like tiptoeing around the proverbial elephant in the living room. …The word ‘suitable’ is just as unhelpful a translation. This translates a compound phrase that is literally ‘like opposite him.’ The entire narrative of Genesis 2, in which a piece of the man is removed to create the woman, strongly implies that each is incomplete without the other. …Male and female are ‘like opposite’ to one another. They are like two pieces of a puzzle that fit together because they are not exactly alike nor randomly different, but they are differentiated such that together they can create a complete whole. Each sex is gifted for different steps in the same Great Dance.” —Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

  1. The Parenting Race 

“A friend of mine likes to say that he knew that parenting would be humbling; he just didn’t know that it would be humiliating. Even when all is going well, one never knows when a toddler will tell his Sunday school class the new words he learned when Mommy was yelling at Daddy last night. ...As a child ages, every day could bring word of a catastrophic pregnancy or a failed school term or a lost job or a broken engagement or a car wreck. And, it seems, there is nothing one can do about any of it, except look back on pictures at how sweet that baby used to be—and all the ways you failed as a parent. ...In relationship with people, we are bound to disappoint, and to be disappointed, to wound and to be wounded. ...Perhaps you, like me, have looked at all your family failures and wondered, ‘Why does this have to be this hard? ...One of the hardest things for us to grasp as family members is just how complicated it all is. I don’t just mean the mechanics of getting along with one another, of modeling good marriages or good parenting, of honoring our father and our mother. I mean the unique mixture that comes with family of joy and terror, of beauty and brokenness. ...Family is awesome. Family is terrible. As Christians, we already have a category for that. The cross shows us how we can find beauty and brokenness, justice and mercy, peace and wrath, all in the same place.” —Russell Moore, The Storm-Tossed Family

  1. Endurance from Jesus

 “If the Scriptures are right, then ancient cultures were right that there are invisible and hostile powers afoot in the cosmos, and these powers rage against the picture of the gospel, wherever it is found, because the gospel is a sign of the end of their reign...the fall of humanity, presented in the earliest pages of Scripture, is not simply a story of personal guilt or shame, the Fall immediately splinters husband from wife, brother from brother, father from daughter, uncle from cousin—all just in the opening chapters of Genesis. If the family is not wrecking you, it’s only because you don’t know what is going on. ...Into all of that, the Bible does not give us a family manual. The Bible gives us instead a word of the cross. By ‘the cross,’ I don’t mean shorthand for Christian principles or ‘family values.’ By ‘the cross’ I mean the tangled mess of a murder scene outside the gates of Jerusalem.” —Russell Moore, The Storm-Tossed Family