Patience by Heather Marsten
I often joke, I want patience and I want it NOW, but sometimes in this life it is so easy to justify lack of patience. Circumstances and things seem to throw themselves at your feet, and patience is challenged. Patience and peace are very closely linked, and if we can manage to not let the behavior of others interfere with our peace we can maintain patience in difficult circumstances. Pastor Don, the other day told us that he prays to God to give him the ability to view others through God’s eyes and through the love of God. I think that patience is involved in that. We cannot attain the Fruit of the Spirit any other way but with God’s help. We certainly can’t do it in our own strength. I recently took the Beth Moore study on The Fruit of the Spirit, and want to share what I learned about patience from her and from other sources with you. I find it ironic that God gave me a practicum on patience during the time I wrote this.
Galatians 4:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
I have to be honest, when I see the NKJV version of the word “patience” I want to roll my eyes and emphasize the words LOOOONG and SUFFERING in longsuffering. But I don’t think that is what God had in mind with patience.
In this passage, the Strong’s definition for longsuffering is 3115 MAKROTHUMIA forbearance, fortitude, longsuffering, patience. It refers to one who has the power to avenge but refrains from doing so. It is self restraint before proceeding to action and is strongly associated with mercy. There are two words for Patience in the New Testament. Makrothumia is patience in respect to persons; and HUPOMONE (5281) which is endurance, putting up with things or circumstances. I think it is no mistake that God used Makrothumia for patience in the fruit of the Spirit because God always puts people above things.
We need both kinds of patience. HUPOMONE is to persevere, remain under and bearing up under things or circumstances. It is associated with hope and involves character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial, suffering in faith and duty. Hupomone is a quality of mind, the bearing of evils and suffering with tranquil mind. I might add that not all circumstances are God ordained. We need to determine if what we are dealing with is what God wants in our lives, or is it the fruit of our wrong assumptions and actions.
We see the word Hupomone in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
If you look at the meaning of the word Hupomone you see the word Hope, which is the desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it. It is far more than what we see as hope in our common vernacular, which is a wish that things will come out good. The hope of Hupomone implies an expectation. And so when we have perseverance and patience we need to be able to expect that something good will come out of it. The Greek word for “Hope” is ELPIS 1680, and it is a favorable, confident expectation, a forward look with assurance and anticipation of good, a factor in endurance, a purifying power.
Another place Hupomone is used in the New Testament is in James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful
What did Job endure?
Job lost his children, his property, his servants, had painful sores on his body and his wife even told him to curse God. Job faced situations far beyond what most of us face in our lives, but he still maintained His faith in God and refused to blame God. He endured this without any knowledge of what was going on in the heavenlies between God and satan. It is also important when we see someone going through a trial that we do not judge what they are facing for we don’t know the whole picture. Rather than his wife telling Job to curse God and die, she should have come alongside him and given him support in the midst. His friends came to offer support and ended up trying to find the reason why Job faced these trials. They shared Biblical truths with him with such insensitivity. Eugene Peterson in a commentary in the Message Bible said it this way, “Sufferers attract fixers the way roadkills attract vultures….More often than not, these people use the Word of God frequently and loosely. They are full of spiritual diagnosis and prescription. It all sounds so hopeful. But then we begin to wonder, “Why is it that for all their apparent compassion we feel sores instead of better after they’ve said their piece?” (p.714) He then spoke about Elihu’s speech in Chapter 36 “The conclusion of Elihu’s speech is doxology by a master. He praised God extravagantly and accurately. In any other context this would have been admired and extolled. But as a speech to one who is suffering, it was ruinously insensitive. We can speak too much about God, as odd as that may sound. Especially when we speak to those who are suffering. Silence is often more eloquent than speech, and tears more effective than theology. (p.763)
At one point, before I knew God, I had a miscarriage and some of the statements made to me after that were so insensitive that, instead of bringing me comfort and leading me closer to God, they drove a wedge between me and God. When I was grieving the loss of the child I didn’t need to hear God needed that child more than I did, or God had a purpose for this, or God would use this for his glory. I thought that was rather poor recruiting on God’s part. It wasn’t until I knew God’s love for me that I could reconcile some of this pain. People need love and comfort when they are in major pain.
What sustained Job during these trials? He had two hopes. It seemed that he was alone in the trials, something we sometimes feel when everything seems against us, but there were two hopes we have and Job had.
Job 23:8-10 “Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
We know that good will come out of our trials, that God is there with us and hasn’t lost us, and that God will use the trials to refine us.
Refiners use heat to process gold and silver. They raise the heat on the metal and all the impurities rise to the surface to be skimmed off. The Refiner knows the gold is pure when the impurities are burned off and the refiner can see His reflection on the metal’s molten surface. With our lives, God is using all our circumstances to burn off the dross, and one day we will clearly reflect Him. God will not waste any experience we have. God will turn it all to good. We have to cling to this hope as we walk through our trials, for we want God’s glory to shine through us. And God loves us so much that if we fail at a trial, He will keep bringing similar trials up for He wants us to pass the test. As we lose the dross of our lives, it also gives satan fewer and fewer toe holds on our life. People will see God through us, and that is a profound testimony.
The word for Glory is Doxa 1391
1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Doxa means honor resulting from good opinion, nature and acts of God in self-manifestation, the acts and character of Christ, grace and power. THE CHARACTER AND WAYS OF GOD AS EXHIBITED THROUGH CHRIST TO AND THROUGH BELIEVERS.
Romans 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to Hispurpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God will use these tough circumstances in our lives, the trials and tribulations to work out patience in us, and it will also be used for His glory. We do want to conform to what God wants us to be. Why? Because we know God loves us and what He wants for us is best. But as we go through these circumstances we will probably realize that BEING CONFORMABLE IS NOT COMFORTABLE.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
We all want to find God’s glory, and we all have the same motivation and hope as Job.
Job 19:25-26 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.
We also see the word Hupomone in these following verses. What is the hope?
Hebrews 10:35-39 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
Here the word “HUPOMONE” is rendered endurance – so that we will receive the promise that He (Jesus) is coming.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith and for joy.
James 1:2-8 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The testing of our faith produces patience and it has its perfect work. If we need wisdom on our tests we only have to ask God in faith.
2 Timothy 2:10-13 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
It is not us who has patience, but Christ in us, the hope of Glory.
The hopes mentioned in the above verses talk about circumstances that we endure. But the hope is mentioned in the fruit of the Spirit is a different word. It is MAKROTHUMIA. 3115
This word means longsuffering, forbearance, self restraint before proceeding to action. A quality of a person who is able to avenge themselves but refrains from doing so.
MAKROTHUMIA is tied up with mercy and relates to patience with people. We know that God always puts people above circumstances.
Matthew 12:9-13 Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched itout, and it was restored as whole as the other.
MAKROTHUMIA IS RELATED TO MERCY. MERCY IS ELEOS 1656
It means compassion, free gift for forgiveness of sins, God’s tender mercy toward our misery, forgiveness is strongly linked with mercy.
There are a few places both HUPOMONE and MAKROTHUMIA are used together.
2 Timothy 3:10-11 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.
Colossians 1:9-12 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
WE ARE TO BE PATIENT REGARDING PERSONS AND ENDURE CIRCUMSTANCES.
To be honest, haven’t you found being patient in circumstances is far easier than being patient with each other? Because MAKROTHUMIA is a fruit of the Spirit, we can ask God and the Holy Spirit to help us to attain patience for each other. We can pray for help in this. It is impossible to have the fruit of the Spirit unless it is expressed by God through us. We can’t produce MAKROHUMIA on our own, in our own strength.
We learn patience through the example of God and Jesus.
The Patience of God.
1 Peter 3:18-20 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
What did God see?
Genesis 6:5-12 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart wasonly evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
The earth was corrupt and every intent of the thoughts of his heart were evil continually. The Bible says that it grieved God’s heart. The word for grieved is NACHAM, and it means a drawing breath and groaning.
Why would man’s sin cause God so much grief?
Genesis 1:27-31 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
God made man perfect, but man chose to disobey God. When we disobey God it grieves God, the same way our disobedience grieves the Holy Spirit. God had a perfect plan for man, and man chose to walk away from that perfect plan. Just like we are grieved by our children’s (both spiritual and physical) misbehavior, for we know that what we are desiring for them is for their best interest. When man sins, God grieves for he has perfect plans for us that are thwarted by our disobedience and He knows that we will face the fruit of our disobedience.
Noah is described as a just man, perfect in his generations – that does not mean that he did not sin, or was perfect, but he had not fallen into the moral depravity of his era. He kept his body clean and pure.
We too are temples of God, and called to be just in our unrighteous society. To hold to the truths about God in the face of a society that is trying to deny God and do their own thing.
How long will God strive with evil?
Genesis 6:3-4 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
God is patient, he shows MAKROTHUMIA to us, but His patience is not forever. There will be a Day of Judgment.
What was Noah’s other job besides ark builder?
2 Peter 2:5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
He was a preacher of righteousness – his building of the ark which took 120 years, people would ask questions, wonder, and Noah would share what God told him – did he convert anyone? No. Can you imagine preaching that long and no conversions? But he was obedient.
Later God gave Noah the promise He would not destroy the earth in the same manner and left the rainbow as a sign of this Covenant.
Why did God wait 120 years while Noah preached righteousness?
1 Peter 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
Divine longsuffering. The patience of God. We so often take that patience for granted.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:14-15 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you
We are saved because of God’s patience. I am thankful He was patient with me during the 40 years I wanted nothing to do with God. When we have to practice patience on others, I think it is important to remember the patience God shows us, for then we will extend that patience to others.
Sometimes in the Bible God shows us the meaning of a word by illustrating it’s opposite.
The opposite of MAKROTHUMIA INSPIRED BY MERCY IS KRINO 2919, to distinguish, choose give an opinion, judge, condemn, and take vengeance on.
PATIENCE IS THE DELAYING OF JUDGMENT. When God’s patience is fulfilled, He will judge. But God is waiting for He wants as many as want to be saved to be saved.
I have a choice in dealing with people, to judge them or to be patient toward them. It is not possible to judge someone and be patient toward them at the same time.
Eleven reasons we must not judge another
Romans 2:1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
1. We cause God to be harder on us and
2. We do the same things we are condemning others for doing.
Romans 2:2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.
3. We do not know the whole truth, we can’t read minds or judge hearts.
Romans 2:3 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?
4. We are mere humans,
Isaiah 29:16 tells us “Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; for shall the thing made say of him who made it, “ He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “ He has no understanding”?
Only God has full understanding of His creation. We have limited perspective.
Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
5. When we judge others we are judging God, and having contempt for God’s patience. Eternity is a long time.
Romans 2:5 But 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,
6. God’s judgments are always righteous, ours are tainted. And God will have wrath for our judgments.
Matthew 7:1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
7. We risk the application of the same judgment on ourselves.
Matthew 7:3-5 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
8. Our sight is hindered by our own sin.
James 4:11-12 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
9. Only one lawgiver and judge
10. Only God has a noble purpose in judgment.
John 8:14-18 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”
11. Like Christ, our judgment would have to be consistent with God’s to be valid.
That being said, we do judge, but not to condemnation. We do have to judge if something is beneficial for us or not, if a person’s actions will lead them to harm or sin, or not. But our purpose for judging is not to condemn. God is patient with us and we have to be patient with each other. Judgment grieves the Holy Spirit. It is very easy for me to judge others, and far easier to point out the defects in another than it is to point out the defects in myself. I think we often look at other people’s actions through the highest degree of magnification of an electron microscope, but we want others to give us the benefit of the doubt for we have reasons for what we are doing. God would rather we reverse this, and search our own lives in great detail and give others the benefit of the doubt.
Jesus gave a parable about two debtors, one owed millions, and the other owed just a few denarri, a few dollars – Matthew 18: 15-35. The master forgave the man who owed millions, and then that man went and put into prison the man who owed him a few denarri. The judgment of the master was very harsh on the one who was forgiven much because he did not extend mercy to the debtor.
MERCY IS FUELED BY FORGIVENESS AND FORGIVENESS IMPACTS THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
I know that this does not seem like it is part of patience, but truthfully forgiveness is part of patience, and also the key to real liberty in Christ.
What is Biblical forgiveness? Forgive is the word APHIEMI 863 means leave, forgive, send away, depart, let go, give up a debt, forgive, not hinder.
We have those we don’t forgive strapped to our backs. Pastor Copes gave us a wonderful example of that (describe the offense held against him and how everywhere Pastor Copes went, Pastor Don had to go because Pastor Don was so busy holding the offense against Pastor Copes. When the offense was dropped, Pastor Don was free to go wherever he wanted to go). You are ruled by who you don’t forgive. We bind ourselves to what we hate the most.
Who or what are we to forgive?
Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Mark 11:25-26 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Bible is pretty clear EVERYONE AND ANYONE.
I really, really had a hard time with this because of the abuse I had in my past. I used to think forgiveness was like saying it’s ok for what a person did to me, but it isn’t ok. God will deal with the person. But I want to be free from the bondage of the past, and the only way to do that is to cut the ropes and forgive. Pastor Don tells us that until we let go, God can’t deal with the person.
If you have a RIGHT to be mad or hold a grudge, what better person could God use to show his glory by a God given MAKROTHUMIA?
Unforgiveness is like carrying dead weight and it becomes habit forming. Unchecked it spreads from one person to another and it ends up encumbering us.
But the most important reason for forgiving others is that God tells us to forgive.
Luke 6:37-38 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
This also includes the same measure of forgiveness or unforgiveness.
Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
I know it seems impossible to believe, but it is true that the one who will not forgive always suffers more than the one who is not forgiven. Forgiving doesn’t make the offense right, but it heals us. If we walk around in unforgiveness it gives satan a place that he can attack us, and we don’t want satan having any hold on our lives.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
We have to remember Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
There is one more important reason to forgive.
Ephesians 4:30-32 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
It grieves the Holy Spirit.
1 Timothy 1:15-17 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
That in and of itself should have us patient with each other when we need to forgive. Remember the woman that washed Jesus feet? The people questioned her morality, and Jesus answered them Luke 7:47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
How do we forgive?
Colossians 3:12-13 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
As Christ forgave us.
Psalm 85:2-3 You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah. You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
What does God do with our sins?
Psalm 103:12-14 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
When must we forgive? NOW! If we are not willing to forgive, pray and tell God that, let Him know the situation and ask Him to make you willing to forgive. The liberty you will experience with forgiveness is well worth it.
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Now back to patience.
James 5:7-9 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
One time I walked into Pastor Don’s office and told him I was tired of being a living stone. My family and I were rubbing against each other and the results were not pretty. But the truth is, that that is the way God forms the stones of his temple, the friction of the uneven stones rubbing against each other smoothes us out.
The word “forbear” is ANECHO – It means to put up with, hold up and hold back.
Remember the joke about the person who thanked God that today they weren’t rude to someone, hadn’t lost their temper, etc. and the end of the joke is, now I have to get out of bed to start my day. We are all part of the Body of Christ and God put us here so that we are in fellowship. Part of that fellowship, unfortunately, is rubbing each other the wrong way. Someone says something, looks at us funny, doesn’t say something, ignores us and our hackles rise. We are in the Body of Christ to learn patience with one another.
It isn’t going to help our growth in Christ if we stay in isolation either. Sometimes I think a desert island is a boon, but we won’t learn to fit together as the temple of God in isolation. And sometimes the people who are the closest to us are the ones that are the ones that try our patience the most.
Sometimes the person who is the most difficult for us to deal with is the very one God ordained for us, but we have to have discernment in this. We do have to make sure the relationship is Godly. God would not want us to remain, for example, in and adulterous relationship. We have to ask ourselves does this relationship challenge us or is it oppression? If it is oppression, it may be a relationship of satan to keep us from doing God’s work, but if it is just dealing with a challenging person, then maybe God has us in the relationship for a reason.
Remember James 1:2-4
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
God’s purpose is to complete us in our walk in the Body of Christ. Sometimes the very person we are PRACTICING PATIENCE toward, is the same person who God put to teach us something important too. God is very economical. He will make the most of every situation. God may have put that person that we are dealing with into our lives to deal with something in us that needs changing.
Is there anyone in your life that you would say, “Without that person, my Christian walk would be perfect?” or maybe “They bring out the worst in me!” It is quite possible that God put them in our lives for that express purpose to bring out the worst in us, so that God can remove that worst in us, in a similar manner as the refiner’s fire, putting the heat on in us to burn off the dross. That way, when the worst is removed we mirror God closer than we used to. God is all about refining us, and often that refining process doesn’t look pretty and feels rather cruddy.
The reasons God may use trying people in our lives:
1. God wants us to realize where our weaknesses are and ask Him for help. Until we recognize we need help, we usually don’t ask for help.
2. They keep us from thinking too highly of ourselves. Nothing like seeing ungodly behavior in our lives to smack down pride.
3. They keep our pretenses from working. Without that person in our lives we can pretend that everything is ok, and we are doing well. But, when our patience is tried, we realize that that is not the case.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.
God will put us in circumstance after circumstance until we pass the test. He is all for us passing the test. If the work God wants to do through us is finished and perfect, we would have no reason to remain here. But God is at work in our lives killing off those pretenses, we are dying for Jesus’ sake, to become more and more perfected so that God’s glory can shine through us.
In today’s society with so many divorces raging – it seems that we have a throw away relationship mentality. If a relationship becomes too hard, we walk a way. That was not what God intended. He knew that we would rub each other the wrong way. He knew that dealing with other flawed humans, especially when we also are flawed humans, is destined to produce conflict. If we get into conflict and walk away, nothing changes. True change comes with CONFLICT AND COMMITMENT.
God will kill pride in us, not to make us squirm or to make us feel poorly about ourselves. He is killing pride in us so that He can use us.
Pray that God fills us with the Holy Spirit and patience.
Ephesians 4:1-6 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There isone body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, whois above all, and through all, and in you all.
May we all walk worthy of the calling with which we are called, and may we learn to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit, as a byproduct of our walk with the Lord. I pray that He helps us with patience in our circumstances and with others, that His glory may shine all the brighter through us.
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