Faith Child – Where is my patience?

Patience-with-others-is-loveThe-Fruit-of-Spirit-Patience is a social virtue relating to our thoughts and actions toward fellow-man and our attitude during trials. How is  patience represented? By images of stoicism, tolerance and passivity in most people’s mind and much more.

There are  people who are easily irritated who invariably let others know it, either by a steady stream of grumbling, carping and griping accompanied by a face painted with the pain of having to suffer the fools surrounding them, or they “blow up” in red-faced fury, shouting a torrent of invective intended to let everyone within hearing distance know they have been put upon and have “had it.” Most of us are in between. We may not show much agitation on the outside, but inwardly we are churning or smoldering  with varying degrees of stress, wishing that people would “just get on with it” so we can do our thing. Jesus never lost  control—even while under intense pressure from blinded and stubborn fools, some of whom were intentionally baiting Him. Nor did He fall into a self-pitying pout to draw attention to His irritation.

God clearly holds Jesus up to us as the example we must strive to follow.

For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer for it, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.

What did Christ’s patient suffering produce?” Does it not follow that if Christ’s life produced good things because He lived this way, our lives will too? Did not Christ finish what God gave Him to do and glorify God in the way He did it? Does God ever counsel or command anything that does not show love and produce good?

The Bible reveals God’s patience as a quality of His character  too.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.hat deters Him for long periods from retaliating against those who sin against Him.

This fits neatly with what Peter says regarding Christ’s example: As a man, Christ did not strike back, but wisely and patiently left any retaliation due in the matter to God’s judgment.

Patience is a major characteristic of our God, and that should fill us with gratitude. God’s patience delays His wrath, allowing time for good to occur So Jonah prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, One who relents from doing harm.”

In combination with patience, the qualities of grace, mercy, loving kindness, goodness  God  works with people so they can remain alive and eventually transform into His image. If God struck out at people just as short-fused humans frequently do, no one would be alive today.

Jonah, in a typically human reaction, wanted God to wipe the sinners of Nineveh, Israel’s enemy, off the face of the earth! Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

patience2 Clearly, God’s patience is exercised so He can work on the situation and produce repentance.

All too frequently, though, His goodness and patience are abused through stubbornness or neglect. Be assured, God is aware, and there comes a time when His patience is exhausted and His judgment falls if the change God expected does not occur. Romans 2:3-discusses the same theme on a more personal basis, warning us that we should not abuse God’s patience by viewing it as inattention, indulgence or mere tolerance:

And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?  In accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds.

We desire others—especially God—to be patient and forgiving toward us in our faults, but do we practice the same attitude and conduct toward those whose faults offend us? Patience is a two-way street, and God clearly demands reciprocity. He expects us to pass His patience and forgiveness toward us on to others even as Christ did. II Corinthians 6:3-6, the apostle carries this thought into action, as he reflects upon his ministry and those with him.

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fasting; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering,

Timothy followed Paul’s example, Paul followed Christ’s example, and Christ was One with the Father in His example. An unbroken chain of patience appears, beginning with the Father, continuing through His agent, Christ Jesus, then to His agent, the apostle Paul, and finally to his agent, Timothy.

How are we doing in continuing the chain unbroken in our relationships with others? This in no way means we are weak, though to some  we may at first seem so. Nor does it mean that we approve of their conduct. Though we may hate their conduct and suffer keenly when it affects us, Christ tells us to bless them, meaning we should confer favor upon or give benefits to them. We can do this by wishing the person well, speaking kindly of and to him and seeking to do him good. This is a controversial aspect which requires discernment from the Holy Spirit in implementation.

Situations like this may be the most difficult test we will ever face. Patiently deferring retaliation and committing the circumstance to God’s judgment is indispensable to the best possible solution .The primary point of Jesus’ instruction, however, is not how to resolve these situations, but that we may be children of our Father. By imitating God’s pattern, we will resemble Him and take a giant stride toward being in His image.

Paul was embattled on every side, yet his active resolution carried him along whatever path God determined he should be.

This is the temper of patience. It enables a person to plod determinedly on. It may not be spectacular, but such a person will go on toward perfection.

Regardless of how it is stated—whether as going on to perfection, being entire or growing to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ—it does not come without great effort. Perhaps there are times when we feel “our plate is too full”.

We must begin to cultivate the habit of thinking of life, including all of its trials, as being God’s way to shape godly character in us.

Perfection in this life is to become what God wants us to become. What could be better than that? The end of a thing is better than its beginning; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. ;” “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.”

Patience grows from a combination of faith, hope, love and self-control. Wisdom produces success, and being successful in glorifying God is what life is all about

I Corinthians 13:4 “Love suffers long and is kind.” As noted above, patience is directly associated with love and hope. Here in the “love chapter,” Paul lists patience first among love’s works and adds that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” This makes it evident that God’s patience stands behind His children’s patience as its source and pattern and as a link in a chain.

Because the Bible lists it with the fruit of the Spirit, it is less a virtue achieved than a gift received. It comes with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we reproduce it.

However, since we are beings of free choice, we are still obligated to God to activate it, exercise it and use it as a witness that God lives in us. We must “put on” Christ, meaning we must conduct our lives as closely to the way He would, were He in our position. We are to practice His way of life because it is eternal life—the way God lives His life. It will help prepare us for His Kingdom, and it enables us to glorify Him here and now.

God is the Source of peace, and His Spirit the means of this very valuable fruit.

Excerpts from

John W. Ritenbaugh

http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/PERSONAL/k/266/The-Fruit-of-Spirit-Patience.htm

About ptl2010

Jesus Christ is coming soon
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