Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week Thirty - Patience


“...let patience have her perfect work...” James 1:4

The Greek word “hupomone” means literally “an abiding under”.  So, there must be pressure applied for patience to be exhibited.  Paul tells us that tribulation worketh or produces patience.  (Rom 5:3)  So, patience is an acquired skill - the fruit of testing and pressure.
Patience can be passive - as we merely endure recognizing trials as from the hand of God.  And, it can be active - by persistence and perseverance as we patiently work through situations.  Either way it produces Christian character that can only be brought about by levels of pressure and testing.
None of us relish affliction or tribulation.  We really don’t enjoy exhibiting patience either.  We would prefer the easy path and most things to go our own way.  Yet, if we really desire Christ-likeness we must see pressures as necessary to our growth and as the loving hand of God teaching his child maturity.

Allowing patience to “her perfect work” also produces further fruit.  Romans 5:3-5 says that it brings on experience, hope and confidence.  James says it makes us mature and complete.

Are you “abiding under” a trial? Do you see the benefit of trials?  Are you willing to allow patience to do her perfect work in your life?


“...the trying of your faith worketh patience.”  James 1:3

“The trying of our faith”.  As we move nearer to the time of the trumpet, our faith is bound to be tested more intensely.  We will need all the patient endurance and perseverance that the Holy Spirit can produce.  We will need the wisdom and confidence that God has taught us through experience and past trials.  And, again, we will need to recognize that such trials of our faith will not destroy us, but will produce more patience and, yes, stronger faith.
Our faith can be tested many ways.  Sometimes we face scoffers, sometimes, fools, occasionally we may be confronted and have to speak up for Christ.  Or, we may see and feel the falling away of those around us and hear the voice of the deceiver tempting us to do the same.  He can plant doubt and discouragement.  He can distract and annoy.  But, if we have learned patience we know that he can only do so for a season.  The victory is ours and by patient faith we can endure.

How do you face trials?  If you were facing them patiently, what do you think that would look like?  Do you need to make any adjustments?


“the patience of the saints...”  Rev. 14:12, 13:10

The saints are described as those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.  Or – who trust and obey.
This is patient endurance.  It is simple solid faith that says, “God is right and it will all be done according to His Word.  I will just be patient and wait!”  It is also patient active perseverance that says, “God is right.  I will simply obey His Word and keep my eyes on Jesus.”
II Peter 3:4 records those who will ask, “Where is the promise of his coming?”  These have lost patience.  They have turned to their own way and forgotten that God created the world by His Word.  He will finish the world by His Word.  The day of the Lord will come.  Evil will be punished and the saints will be rewarded.  This is the patience of the saints.  It is that settled confident trust and knowledge that God is right and he will set everything in order in His time.  The saint says, “I will patiently wait.”

Reading Isaiah was bringing me down.  I was tired of reading of all the woes and judgments placed on the different nations and on Israel themselves.  As I was reading, my mind was saying this very thing, and then I came to chapter 35 where God began to show me the “patience of the saints” and the promise of His restoration.  Words like “rejoice”, “blossom”, “singing”, “recompense” were scattered throughout the chapter and it closed with, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Verse 10)

Are you willing to wait for the Lord to make all things right? Or, do you go about meting out justice?  Do you look for the promise of His coming with joy and anticipation?


“In patience possess ye your souls...”  Luke 21:19

To possess your soul is to gain mastery over your passions or to not lose self-control in the face of adverse circumstances.  Sounds like our definition of patience – pressure!
Patience here might be defined as the ability to not lose self-control, to accept delays, annoyances and frustrations without complaining or fighting back.  It is the ability to calmly accept that some things we cannot force.  They come in their own time.  And, in God’s providence that will be the right time.

We need to recognize that God is in control.  If I am providentially hindered on my path, I need to calmly yield and wait for my Father to make the way plain before me.  I need to count to ten and control myself!

Jesus gave this instruction. It came right after he described the sufferings his followers would face.  He knew the temptations they would face.  He knew that Peter would speak before the thought.  He knew that some would fall away because of the pressure. 

It reminds me of the two verses in Proverbs – 25:28 – “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”  16:32 – “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”  Not to have possession of our souls – spiritual self-control – is to be vulnerable to every attack.  Ruling our spirit, however, brings strength.

Can you control yourself in the face of delays and annoyances?  What is your normal reaction?  What reactions need to be brought into line with Scripture?


“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Heb 10:36

Ye have need! – It is a necessity.  Patience is a necessity.  We need it in so many areas of life.  We need it in relationships, in finances, as we drive and shop, in life decisions, in business, in child rearing.  It is a necessity.  It starts the moment we are born.  We wait to eat and wait to be changed.  We scream and cry, but eventually learn that we will be fed and clothed.  Seems we always want our needs to be met faster.  And usually, we want to put little effort in ourselves.
But this verse says we need to patiently do right first, and then the promise of reward will not fail. This patience is active.  We are to be about the Father’s business and we must do it patiently.  The reward it here, but only for those who trust and obey.  We don’t get to eat dessert first!  The good stuff comes after the main meal!

So, the question is, “Are you a screaming baby Christian? One that doesn’t want to wait for anything or anyone?  Or, are you a demanding toddler stomping your feet and throwing temper tantrums?  Or maybe you are a stubborn teen?  One who is always questioning why things aren’t going your way or trying to do things you are not prepared for or mature enough to truly understand.  Or, maybe you are in open teenage rebellion! 

Are you willing to put in the effort necessary to grow?  Then remember this verse…..patience…do God’s will…then the reward!

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