John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (KJV)
Patience Exercised Activates Christian Endurance
There are two things that seem to be in short supply in our society today. One is peace and the other is patience. We can see this any time we go to the store, drive down the streets of any city, or walk through the halls of any school. People are always in a hurry and the qualities of peace and patience are lost.
Jesus said He was giving us His peace, and James instructed the early church to consider it pure joy when they faced struggles of any kind. Problems in our lives are designed to test our faith and develop in us patience. The development of patience is the painstaking task of a lifetime; however, it is attainable. Peace, patience and perseverance are spiritual attributes of mature Christian character that will sustain us in the most difficult circumstances, but we must learn to exercise them. (James 1:1-3)
There is only one way to develop patience. That is to persevere. Going through the hard times while trusting the Lord’s plan will help us grow in wisdom. Wisdom gives us patience, but maturity in the faith is the only thing that will enable us to overlook an offence. Daily, in fact, several times each day we come upon situations that can upset or offend us but our reaction to each situation, when it lines up with the word of God, can be a crowning moment of His glory in our lives. (Proverbs 19:11)
Although we live in a society where almost everything is instant, ministry is one thing that is not instant. We don’t like to wait for anything, and when we do have to wait we get offended, but ministry is based on relationship and building a relationship takes time. Pride and patience battle within us to influence and control our actions. Our pride is the attribute that gets offended and stops us from exercising patience, but patience is the attribute that will get us safely to the final destination on our journey of faith. Endurance, the ability to hang in there and finish the task seems to be lacking because we lose focus so quickly. We begin any project with great anticipation and high expectation, but somewhere in the process from the beginning to the end we lose heart, get distracted, or our pride gets offended and we do not finish what we so eagerly started. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)
If we are going to see the end that is promised in scripture, that end which is better than the beginning we must develop the attributes of Christian character that feed endurance. Every day we get up and get dressed before we begin our activities. We choose our outfits carefully. We check our attire to be sure it fits the task at hand. There are not too many of us that would appear in public without clothing that matches our surroundings. We like to fit in. We do not wear a tux or ball gown to muck out a stable. We spend time making sure that we are dressed properly. We understand the importance of outward garments. How much more important is it that our spirit is dressed appropriately? (Colossians 3:12)
Once we have the right outfit for the job we can begin the workout. (Workout now there is a word associated with exercise!) We are looking for the promise of God and we must exercise patience to receive our inheritance. The promise does not just show up over night. We have to work for it. We have all heard our mothers say, “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” or our fathers say, “To do the job right, you need the right tools.” Doing the job of being a Christian requires that we exercise both faith and patience. (Hebrews 6:12)
There are some things we love to exercise and other things we do not love to exercise. For example, we love to exercise authority. We love, at least in America, to exercise our rights, and sometimes we even love to exercise our options or opinions, but Patience Exercised Activates Christian Endurance.
Jesus said He was not giving us what the world would give and again He taught that we would be different form them in the way we attain greatness. Ministry is all about service, and living a Christian life is having that service exercised. People, being the imperfect creatures of habit that we are, will put our patience to the test every time we serve. (Mark 10:42-45)
The Spirit of life brings liberty; experiencing liberty and freedom is very empowering, but there is a limitation. The limitation to our liberty is this: We cannot allow our liberty to become a stumbling block to others. Our patience affects everyone around us and our freedom may lead others into sin. The Spirit of God deals with individuals at the rate that fits His plan for their life, and we have not been given the insight and depth of understanding necessary to judge another’s liberty. (1Corinthians 8:9)
There are actions and activities that are clearly sin according to the scripture, but others are a matter of conscience. As the Spirit leads us we obey! Obedience is important in the development of patience because it demonstrates our trust in the Lord. Working out our salvation activates boldness when we share our faith. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Understanding where we individually and corporately draw the line on spiritual as well as emotionally charged moral issues brings us to the point where we can with grace and tact “work out our own salvation”. The use of this phrase does not imply that we are each free to choose what is right for us. Scripture is not of any private, manmade, interpretation. It is opened to us through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Patience Exercised Activates Christian Endurance. God works in us according to His purposes for our lives. One of those purposes is sharing our faith in Jesus; another is putting to use every gift available through the Holy Spirit. We have access to every good thing through Christ. (Philemon Verse 6)
Nothing sums up the goal more clearly than David’s admonition to Solomon, “… do the work.” Doing the work means that we will be active. God does not fail and He does not leave us alone or helpless to accomplish the task. (1Chronicles 28:20)
Getting off the back pew and intentionally reaching the world with the message of salvation calls for skill, motivation, and endurance. Skill is acquired through training and can take years to fully realize. Our motivation must be the love of God. He does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance, according to Second Peter chapter 3 and verse 9. Endurance only comes from commitment and faith. (Proverbs 22:29)
We need to begin to see those we minister to the way God sees them. The Bible says that the people of God are kings and priests. The members of our congregations, and those being converted to the faith are not obscure unimportant people they are kings and priests. As faith is developed we are able to stand firm and endure the hardships that test our commitment to Christ. We all work together with joy. (2Corinthians 1:24)
If being a Christian meant a problem free existence there would be no need to talk about endurance, but the fact is Christians suffer problems. The difference is in the reason we suffer and the way we react to the suffering. (1Peter 4:12-16)
Sadly, not everyone will accept the message of salvation, and to win some may take more time than we have. Preach the truth. Endure both difficult times and difficult people and exercise patience in all things. Do not misunderstand. These are not attempts to diminish our responsibility. We must always reach out, but we need to realize not everyone will respond. (Acts 26:28)
God pours out hope, encouragement and overwhelming love on us as we press on through whatever difficulties arise. One tangible way we can understand this is by applying the scriptures. (Romans 15:4)
Hope in Christ keeps us going. PEACE — Patience Exercised Activates Christian Endurance. We cannot have patience without hope. We cannot reach the world without love and the distress we endure cannot bring glory to God unless we realize why we are suffering. Relationships teach us many lessons: 1. They take time to develop, 2. They involve sacrifice, 3. They will produce something — comfort, suffering, salvation, patience, endurance — something. (2Corinthians 1:6)
As the end draws closer we will go through many distressing moments, but God is faithful and we will overcome all of them. It is His promise and we know that God does not lie. Hold fast until the end and see the deliverance of the Lord. (Revelation 14:12)
We can depend upon the peace that Jesus gives to us. Our hearts do not need to be troubled about any circumstances. God is not surprised by any situation and we are secure in Christ’s love. As we remain faithful, we will find His PEACE — Patience Exercised Activates Christian Endurance.