Pursuing Patience and Perseverance
We don’t begin life with an abundance of patience. When babies are wet, hungry or tired, they cry. Patient endurance isn’t part of the package. We’re not born with patience.
Accumulating it seems like storing marbles on a table sitting on a slanted floor. Progress is elusive.
Do you struggle with patience too? I’m not surprised. James 5:7-11 has an important message for us. Christians are called to patiently endure the trials of life.
First, consider the view from above. I once flew over my house in an airplane. From the air, the woods behind the house, which seemed giant to me as a kid, looked like a small woodlot. The trees seemed like big weeds.
Our problems are like that. For us, they’re the only reality. Nothing else exists. From above, from God’s perspective, they take on manageable proportions.
Patience includes not trying to get even for a wrong suffered. Matthew 18:21–35 connects human and divine patience. We’re obligated to treat others as God has treated us. I’m glad God doesn’t zap me the moment I step out of line! Remember how patient God has been with you. Moreover, God can give you the patience you need.
The secret of patience is keeping Christ in the driver’s seat of your life. The Holy Spirit’s control yields long-suffering patience (Galatians 5:22). Impatience and Spirit-controlled thinking run on different tracks. Impatience reveals a self-controlled life.
The Jewish farmer patiently waited for rain to prosper his crop. Similarly, wait patiently for the Lord’s coming. That’s our source of strength for the present. Physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness lie ahead when Jesus comes. A sure future stabilizes a turbulent present (verse 8).
The Lord’s coming is also a warning. Open complaining and hidden bitterness are forbidden (verse 9). Both demonstrate a lack of patience with others.
Unlike patience, perseverance is stick-to-it-iveness in the midst of pain. Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…” (Job 13:15, NIV). Job persevered through incredible difficulties because he single-mindedly trusted God, no matter what.
The Christian life is a race requiring endurance to finish (Hebrews 12:1). To endure, we must lay aside everything that interferes with fully living for Christ (Hebrews 12:1–2). That includes sin as well as the “good” things in life that prevent us from doing our best for Him. Focus on the joy that lies ahead. Never quit.
Many remember Roberto Duran for saying “no more” when he quit during the eighth round of his boxing match with Ray Leonard in 1980. By God’s grace, may none of us be a “no more” Christian. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources
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