2012-07-28 - Patience
This is not what I expected to share next on patience but this is the direction I felt led to go tonight so I hope it is meaningful to some of you
As I started praying about patience a few weeks ago, I was reminded of something a former pastor of mine used to say that you never should pray for patience because according to scripture you have to go through trials to get it. I believe he was referring to this passage in James.
James 1:2-4 (KJV) - My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
You can't just get patience. You can't claim to have it unless you have proven that you have it. If you have patience you won't know that you have it until it is tested and it is in those tests that you get the patience. If no one ever gets on my nerves then I don't know how patient I can be with them. I can only claim to be patient when I learn to handle the stupid stuff they do.
The word translated temptation is the same word used for temptation by Jesus when he teaches the disciples to pray lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13). It is the same temptation that Peter says God can lead us out of (2 Peter 2:9). It is the journey out of a temptation that gains us the patience. This word is translated sometimes as trials. It takes a trial of patience to reveal whether patience exists or not.
God will not lead us into temptation but he will allow temptations to come so he can lead us out because when we surrender to him and let him lead us out instead of giving in to the evil surrounding us we gain patience and that patience is a good thing. The word patience as defined in Strong's Greek dictionary means "cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy" and "enduring, patience, patient continuance". I want to be able to endure or plow through or around the problems in this life and remain faithful to Jesus. Patience with God is faithfulness. Patience with others is faithfulness to them.
If I am tempted to cheat at work and I give in then I have not been faithful to my employer or to my convictions or even to God's standards. If I am tempted to cheat on my wife and give in then I have not been faithful to her. Temptation proves or disproves faithfulness. Patience is needed to get through those tests but it is also what we gain from those tests.
We are sometimes allowed to go through small things in order to gain patience so we can endure even bigger things.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted.