Patience Is Needed By All
William C. Sexton
Kansas City, Missouri
Not long ago I was talking to a younger person, who had asked for advice, who was very upset and wanting to act now, relative to a problem. My overall suggestion: nothing should be "rushed into. Give it time to be worked out." Sine that time, I have been pondering the problem, needed response, elements involved, etc.. I'm impressed with the need for patience right now!
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise (Heb. 10:35-36).
All of us need patience "after we have done the will of God." According to this passage, and as I observe human behavior I see, I believe, that patience is relative to confidence! Notice the connections.
1. One has to have placed himself in the hands of God by doing His will. One has to be a child of God, having believed (Heb. 11:6; Jn.8:24), repented (Lk. 13:3-5; Acts 17:30-31), confessed (Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10), and been baptized "into Christ" (Rom. 6:3-4) where salvation is (2 Tim. 2: 10). One has to be where God wants him to be (Acts. 4:12; Rev. 2: 10), having fellowship with Him (1 Jn. 2:4; 1:5:9).
2.One has to believe that when the will of God is done, all that can be accomplished shall be! Unless one has that confidence, faith that good will result, the end sought shall be achieved in time, patience is not possible.
3. By being where God wants one to be and believing that God's providence is operative - then one can calmly wait the results, the end of the storm and the safe, joyous journey on to the garden of desire and victory!
Patience (hupomone) means "an abiding under" (W.E. Vine, p. 167). Trials or hardship is involved. Patience may be either "passive, i.e. endurance. . . " or "active, i.e. persistence, perseverance as (e) in well doing, Rom. 2:7 (A.V., 'patient continuance'); (f) in fruit bearing, Lk. 8:15; (g) in running the appointed race, Heb. 12: 1 " (Vine, pp. 167-168). Each person has the ability and thus the responsibility of adding patience to his reservoir or arsenal of character traits. God says, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience. . . "(2 Pet. 1:5-6).
Understanding that patience is related to confidence, then one can see the need to study, read and meditate on God's word - for faith comes from hearing God's word (Rom. 10:17). As one looks into the word of God, examining it closely, one can see that God is reliable; He can be and thus should be trusted! Take Him at His word, knowing that no other can defeat Him, and us if we are with Him (Jn. 10:22-30). Those who hear His voice and follow Him have security that is eternal! Therefore, when things aren't going as we would like for them to at the moment, we can be sure that there will be a turn-around in time! The victory is ours those who wait patiently - not casting off our confidence. The promised reward shall be received.
Satan will work endlessly, however, to cast doubt in our minds that such victory will be received by those who patiently wait for it. He shall, also, try to get us to act hurriedly and unwisely, failing to pay careful attention to God's directions (1 Pet. 5:8-9; Gen. 3:1ff; Matt. 4:1 -11).
Problems are going to always be a part of our playing field.. Therefore, we must be mindful of the need to read and pray - for guidance; experiences shall result in a great reservoir of patience!
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed. . . (Rom. 5:1-5).
Having acted by faith to gain access to the grace of God, we can have experiences that will enable us to grow and gain strength. Such is to be entered, however, with caution. We can't be overly confident, fool-hardy, for such shall lead to destruction. Yet, in our every-day-experiences, let us have faith that the problems are solvable - if we will look closely enough and pray and observe the situation, we'll find the solution that meets God's approval and all will be well.
How one looks upon the situation, what one sees on the horizon, has a great deal to do with one's ability to act calmly now. We need to look inward and upward with a clear vision of reality.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witness, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:1-2).
Many have preceded us - meeting trials and hardships head on! They survived, when they trusted in God, following His directions (cf. Heb. 11), so with that group of onlookers, let us have staying power! There is no problem that can't be solved according to God's revelation; no achievement that is essential can't be reached by faithfully conforming and waiting!
As problems rise in a congregation, it takes time to work through them, at times; let us give them time to be worked out, applying God's teaching in every aspect. Facing the people involved, with the right attitude, aim, and above-the-board approach, in time the problem will be solved. This is not to deny that at times we'll have to take action that is unpleasant - to comply with the Lord's instructions. Yet, let us take no short-cuts, other than the ones approved by God in His word, allowing for the time element to work. Then when all has been done according to God's revelation, let us accept and live with the results. Even though the results are drastically different from what we would have liked and desired to produce, let us remember that God was not always pleased with the results which His power and wisdom allowed to come into existence, by granting man free will (cf. Gen. 6:5-6, 3).
Of Course There Is A Time To Wait No Longer
We have all seen man hesitate too long and thus lose the war. If sin is allowed to go un-dealt with, in time the consequences are to be reaped. Paul points to a case where sin had not been dealt with quickly (1 Cor. 5:1-13) and they were not ready to act; so he demands of them action! God shows that He'll not always keep on allowing evil to go unpunished: "And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Gen. 6:3). Yet, His longsuffering, patience, allowing time to act, results in salvation for man. "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also hath written unto you. . . " (2 Pet. 3:15).
It is, therefore, important that we, His children, learn that we need to stay and allow His word to work its way - in time. Yet, when the proper amount of time is given, let us have the courage and will and determination to carry through with the action called for by God!
Yes, staying power, patience, is needed by each of us and such is not developed overnight; none of us has an over abundance of it. Therefore, we encourage each of us to think and pray, read and learn, and endure!
Guardian of Truth XXX: 22, pp. 675-676