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Patience

Copyright © Andrew J. Shreeve 2013

This teaching is available in video format on my YouTube channel - Andrew Shreeve

 

Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises

Hebrews 6:12

 

Definitions of patience

The word "patience" includes the following meanings:

  • The quality or habit of enduring without complaint
  • The exercise of sustained endurance and perseverance
  • Tranquil waiting or expectation
  • Ability to await events without perturbation (perturb means: to disquiet or disturb greatly; alarm; agitate)
  • Synonyms of patience include: calmness, composure, endurance, forbearance, and long-suffering (Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary)

 

In Hebrews 6:12, the word translated "patience" is the Greek word "Makrothumia" which means: longanimity; that is, (objectively) forbearance or (subjectively) fortitude: - longsuffering, patience (Strong's Dictionary).

  • Longanimity means: disposition to endure long under offense; patience
  • Forbearance means: patient endurance of offenses
  • Fortitude means: strength of mind to meet or endure unfaltering pain, adversity, or peril; patient and constant courage (Funk and Wagnalls)

 

Within the meaning of the word patience are attributes of courage, strength, and endurance under pressure. In other words, patience is not for the faint hearted. The exercise of faith and patience, which is required to receive the promises of God, requires a great deal of strength, determination, focus, endurance and courage.

 

Some Christians don't want to walk down the road of receiving God's promises through faith, because it requires too much patience - effort, discipline, endurance and courage. They mistakenly take a seemingly less-pressured path, which falsely puts the responsibility of whether they receive the promises, or not, onto the Lord. A cunning, but false, way of legitimizing not taking responsibility is to argue that there is uncertainty concerning the will of the Lord to deliver His power to fulfil what He has promised. If uncertainty can be created, then Christians are mistakenly excused from the responsibility to endure the pressure of patience. Uncertainty concerning God's will gives a counterfeit "escape clause" for failure to receive God's power. When we have uncertainty concerning God's will to deliver his power to fulfil what He has promised, we wrongly place the failure squarely onto God. The end result of this mistaken path is actually more pressure, as the Christian will increasingly suffer the devilish oppressions of sickness, poverty, weakness and fear.

 

The absolution from the responsibility to patiently endure until God's promises materialize into our lives is a false release from having to endure the hardships of patience. However, the truth of the gospel is that the Lord expects Christians to be strong and courageous soldiers, fighting the good fight of faith, enduring hardships, persecutions and sufferings, and never wavering in their belief that every promise of God is yes and amen, based on our righteousness in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1, 3-4, 1 Timothy 6:12, 17, James 1:6, 2 Corinthians 1:20, 5:21)! Paul the Apostle, in summarizing the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote the inspired words - that is, the Word of faith, which we preach (Romans 10:8)! The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is a commitment to place our faith in God's written promises / Word in the Holy Bible.

 

When we place our trust and faith in what is promised in the bible, patience is required to receive the fulfilment of those promises. As Jesus said:

 

What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them

Mark 11:24

 

It is at the moment of prayer that we exercise our faith that we have received the promise of the Lord. It is, however, at some later time that the promise is delivered unto us. It is this period of time, between our prayer of faith and the manifestation of God's power into our physical reality, that patience is needed. It is also at this time that the devil will attack our minds with thoughts of unbelief in God's promises, in an attempt to get us to abandon patience (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). But it is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises. We need to be aware that patience requires longsuffering, courage, and endurance under constant pain and adversity.

 

In my personal experience of walking by faith to receive the promises of the Lord, there have been many days of enduring patience - adversity, lack and pain. During these pressing times it sometimes appeared that the promises of the Lord were not true, as the Lord's power seemed to be absent. However, as I held fast to an attitude of patience, aided through focused and fervent meditation of God's promises, I eventually witnessed the power of the Lord which brought His deliverance, in accordance with His promises. I am so thankful that I did not give in during the time of trial and give up on patience.

 

To assist our resolve to exercise patience it is helpful to understand the principles of the kingdom of God, which includes seed time and harvest. Jesus said:

 

So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground

Mark 4:26

 

The power of God's kingdom is released into our lives when we plant the spiritual seeds of God's written promises into our hearts. We know that when we plant a seed the power of that seed is not instantly, fully realised. It takes time for the seed to grow and bring forth the power of its fruit. Farmers need to patiently wait for the seed to grow and come to fruition. During this time the farmer also needs to water, cultivate, and protect the seed. The same is true in the spiritual realm. To receive the promises of the Lord we need to wait patiently for the spiritual seed to grow to fruitfulness. This waiting period requires the great strength of patience, not giving up on the seed when we cannot see anything happening and circumstances are adverse and contrary to what we believe. If we can exercise the spiritual fruit of patience we will eventually see the reward of our faith which will be the manifestation of what God has promised (Hebrews 11:6).

 

This teaching reveals to us that all the promises of God are not automatically received and manifested into our lives simply because we believe in Jesus Christ (though faith in Christ qualifies us for every promise). Rather, each individual promise of the Lord is received through faith and patience. Patience includes a strengthening of our mind to face adverse circumstances with continual courage. God instructed Joshua to be strong and very courageous and to meditate His Word day and night (Joshua 1:7-8). For Joshua to successfully conquer the Promised Land he needed to strengthen his mind in the face of continual adversity. Similarly, for us to receive our promises we need to strengthen our minds, through continual meditation of God's promises, so we can courageously stand in agreement with God's written promises (Romans 12:2). Patience includes this courageous attitude of strength and resolve.

 

The true, Christian life is not a wishful hoping for the manifestation of God's 'mysterious' blessings, based upon some vague interpretation of God's promised, good intentions. Rather, true Christian discipleship includes the unwavering, courageous allegiance to God's written promises in the face of persecution, scorn, pain, lack and adverse circumstances. To inherit the promises of God we must mix with faith - patience. Patience includes an attitude of strength and endurance, whilst continuing to exercise faith to believe we have received the promise of the Lord, regardless of what our physical senses report to us. Patience maintains an attitude of composure and tranquillity as we continue to look at the invisible Word of God as the evidence of truth and reality. Walking by faith and patience to receive the Lord's promises is not for the faint hearted!

 

Pray with me: "Father God, thank you that patience is a fruit of your Spirit (Galatians 5:22). As we continue to meditate your promises, and walk with your Holy Spirit, we will experience the powerful fruit of patience, which will undergird our faith and enable us to receive all your promises. Please enlighten and strengthen us to understand the important role patience plays in the receiving of your powerful blessings. When we are tempted to crumple, and give in, help us to be patiently courageous, even in the face of continual adversity. Thank you as we walk in your Spirit of patience you will lead us into a life of great power and victory, to the glory of God. We pray this in Jesus Christ name, amen."

 

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