Just as the Apostle Paul, John the Baptist, and all the other true saints of the faith that came before you, you will have to endure many strenuous trials, tests, and hardships before you enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is not those who are weak that endure, but the strong. It is not the frightened that march forward, but the bold. It is not the coward who charges headlong into battle, but the brave. As Jesus mentioned, the violent take heaven by force, and they have been since the beginning.
It is those who give it all to the Lord, that lay down their very lives for the call. It is those who walk in the power of the Holy Spirit that become victorious. He is powerful, valiant, and fearless and He will make you just like the saints of old if you give Him everything.
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11:11-15
Paul was nearly stoned to death and beaten with rods three times. yet the Lord saved his life until he had reached old age. Until he finished his race. He boldly preached the Gospel and he taught the Lord’s servants without fail. Not afraid of the beatings and horrible mistreatment that he met at the hands of wicked men. It was all for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the call.
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.
When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:19-22
Suffering, enduring, and struggling are marks of a true believer. The entire road God has planned must be traversed to cross the finish line at the end of the race. No runner of a race can be considered successful or victorious if he does not endure until the end. This takes true grit in the face of the devil’s last ditch effort to destroy as many lives as he can in these last days.
That is why God looks for those who are rough and tough in these last days. Those who are not afraid to step out into the unknown, into the midst of the fray of real and spiritual battle, willing to go to take extreme measures for the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who consider their lives worth losing for the sake of Christ.
Endure to the end. Run the race that God has set before you with boldness, a stout heart, and a clear focus on Christ and His Holy Spirit. He will lead the way, He will conquer through you and before you, and He will hold you fast and never let you down until your race is done.
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:11-12
Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 2:25-28