Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

11/20/2019

Randall Caselman

 

Patient Endurance

 

  The Fruit of the Spirit, the harvest of God living in us, includes patient endurance. Peter tells us that patience is one of the graces that make our calling and election sure, make us fruitful and productive in the kingdom, and affords us an entrance into His eternal kingdom.

 

  I understand that patience here means endurance. It speaks of the ability to press on in the face of difficult people and or difficult circumstances. The Hebrews Writer tells us that we need this endurance: "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised" (Hebrews 10.36). Paul gives us the reason for the need: "We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character;and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us" (Romans 5.3-5).


• Patient endurance develops character...

• Character produces hope.

• Biblical hope is not some 'Pie in the sky' like winning the lottery.

 

  Biblical Hope is a confident expectation thatGod's promises are true and sure.

 

Three things that will help us with patient endurance...

 

  1) Accept what cannot be changed. What a frustrating way to live, trying to change what can't be changed. Let it go!! Reinhold Niebuhr wrote: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Grant me the patience with changes that take time, appreciation of all that I have, tolerance of those with different struggles, and the strength to get up and try again, one day at a time." Reinhold is also saying that some things are not worth changing; again, let it go!

 

  2) Adjust to the obstacles in our path. Some circumstances, some people, are unavoidable. Disappointments are certain. Obstacles are sure. Losses will occur. We will make mistakes. The person with patient endurance acknowledges the road blocks and makes adjustments. Let's face it, sometimes life is not fair. Injustices creep into every one's arena. J. B. Phillips understood this as he paraphrased James 1.2-4: "When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they have come to test your endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men (and women) of mature character." Why not use the obstacles as stepping stones? Sometimes the detours of life provide an opportunity for us to see and experience things we would have never seen or experienced had it not been for the obstacle. Been there? Sure! Thank God for such trials.

 

  3) Affirm God's presence and power in your life. We're never alone. We are never without help. God is present in our life through the Spirit He gave us, Romans 5.5: "God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." John writes: "This is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 John 3.24). It was Paul who said God is at work in us: "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus; I can do everything through him who gives me strength." God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. He's working all things out to our betterment in this very moment.

 

Allow me to mention some areas

where we need to practice Patient Endurance...

 

  In untimely interruptions. It happens every day at the office, at home, on the phone with 'robo'calls, on the highway, at the grocery store. Examining the life of Jesus, we find He took time for people, all people. He touched the leper, made time for children, calmed the storm for fisherman, calmed the satanic storm in the demonic's life, forgave the adulterous woman, spent time with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. People mean untimely interruptions; let us have patience, amen?

 

  Patient in criticism and harsh words. Ha, its gonna happen! Criticism is going to come our way; it just is. How we handle it informs others as to whether or not the Spirit is living in us. If criticism is useful, be thankful, apply it. If it is vindictive, smile and say 'thank you.' Again, be like Jesus: "When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. When He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly" (1 Peter 2.23).Solomon reminds us: "Sharp words stir up anger, but a mild answer turns away wrath.”

 

  Patience in forgiveness. "Love is patient." "Love is not rude.""Love is not easily angered." "Love keeps no records of wrongs." In short, love forgives. Listen! Those who walk in step with the Spirit, those who are fruitful and productive in the kingdom, are people who are patient in this matter of forgiveness. How many people do we know who are unhappy, joyless, even miserable simply because they have not, will not, have no intention of forgiving others. Choose the good life. Choose joy, peace, contentment. Choose to be forgiven by God because we are willing to forgive others.

 

  Are you close to quitting, giving up? Please don't! Patient endurance prevails. "Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him" (James 1.12).

 

  Indeed… The harvest of the Spirit is Patient Endurance.

 

—Randall Caselman