Monthly archives: January, 2017

The Good News And Bad News About Patience

 

PRACTICE

I’ll just say this now and get it over with. You don’t have to be patient. You don’t have to. It’s your choice. It’s your free will. It’s your life. Impatience is an option. Go ahead and take it. They probably don’t deserve patience, appreciate it, or even acknowledge it. They don’t show gratitude. They don’t give back. They don’t seem to care. And their chances have probably run out.

 

But know this…you won’t receive the promises if you choose impatience.

 

Oh, I can’t tell you what the promises are, for some are reserved just for you. Our good God knows how to give good gifts, and since gifts are often personal, the promises He wants to give you will most likely be tailor-fitted to your situation, personality, and faith journey. Listen to this:

The writer of Hebrews says God does not and will not forget the love you have shown toward His name, that is, other people. He goes on to encourage us to keep showing that love, (don’t be sluggish in doing so), being imitators of those who did the same and inherited the promises (6:10-12).

 

It was important enough that he mentioned it again:

You have need of patient endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, [that is, loving people], you may receive what was promised (10:36).

 

The words in chapter six come after the writer tells his audience to press on to maturity, not laying another foundation. One foundation is enough—you’ve repented and are saved. Now, move to maturity…by loving people with patience.

 

The words in chapter ten are no less challenging. He’s writing to people who have experienced suffering, persecution, and criticism at the hands of enemies. Does he encourage impatience? Fighting back? Retaliation? No. “Be patient,” he says, “and you‘ll get what’s promised.”

 

So, that’s the good news—there is promise to be enjoyed when we’re patient with people. Now, I have to tell you the bad news.

 

A book later, James has the same message, and uses an analogy to help explain it. He writes, “[After planting seed], the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains” (5:7). James was writing to people who knew about farming. I know next to nothing about farming, except that I’m grateful someone’s doing it for me. The little I know amounts to this: when James says the farmer is “patient about it,” he does not mean the farmer is sitting in his house, staring out the window, waiting for harvest. No, he’s working by cultivating the land and keeping insects and rodents away. “Patience is not passive resignation, but active endurance of opposition” (HIBD).

 

That’s the bad news—this love we’re called to takes more work than anything else we’ll ever do. But, remember the good news. There is a promise. James says it is the “precious produce of the soil.” I don’t know what the promise will be for you, but as it is with the farmer’s crops, it will be enjoyable, life-giving, and able to be shared with others. Choose patience!


NEVER GIVE UP!

 

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Perseverance. It’s been said that it seems to be an outdated concept in our day of instant everything. If it doesn’t come easy, why pursue it? If it’s hard or requires endurance, maybe it isn’t your thing.

 

The word perseverance originally comes from the Latin perseverantia and means “to abide by something strictly”. In essence, you’re being “strict on yourself” to get something accomplished. It is much more than just merely hanging on by a thread, going through the motions and haphazardly finishing something. Perseverance is a fierce, devoted determination to put forth extreme effort to do something until “it” is accomplished…no matter how long it takes – even when it’s difficult.

 

Dick and Rick Hoyt have a story that is rather inspiring. Rick, the son, loved the idea of participating in marathons. Only problem? Rick is a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Despite the physical toll, Dick would compete in races with his son while pushing him in a specially designed wheelchair. Can you imagine what it took for Dick to get a chair designed to meet his son’s needs? And then, what does it take to compete in various marathons and triathlons, not just by himself (which is an incredible feat!), but all the while bringing his son right along with him?! The pushing. For miles.  The fatigue. The exhaustion. The feeling of wanting to quit; but never allowing himself to do so.

 

What love!

 

What perseverance.

 

Remember the story in the Old Testament where Joshua marched the people around the walls of Jericho – for seven laps?  (Joshua 6) What if Joshua and his crew would have given up on lap six instead of going the full seven as God commanded? What if they (understandably) just got tired of a ridiculous plan, threw their hands in the air (like they just didn’t care) and said, “I’m done!” What if they didn’t persevere? The walls of Jericho would never have come down. They wouldn’t have experienced victory. They would have never gotten a front row seat to watching God work.

 

As we come to the end of 2016, maybe this year has been a tough one for you. Maybe there were surprising challenges, or even unexpected obstacles. And what about your relationship with God? Some seasons it can feel like we’re making laps and “putting on the miles”…yet not making any progress.

 

 

Keep going.

 

 

Maybe you’re on lap six. Maybe the breakthroughs are just ahead. Don’t quit. Persevere, my friend.

 

 

 

“…The church needs champion runners who never give up, who persevere no matter what they encounter, who run to win, unstoppable, no matter the cost.”

-Christine Caine, Unstoppable.

“… you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work

so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:3-4