Sunday, March 8, 2015
Have you been patiently waiting for the fifth step? Careful, that step can be a stumbling block if we try to do it alone:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; (2 Peter 1:5-6a KJV)
Oops – patience!! James tells us:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:2-3 KJV)
In Hebrews we were told:
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:36 KJV)
Much earlier, Jesus said:
In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19 KJV)
However, I see the most informative statement in Jesus’ explanation to the disciples about seeds:
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (Luke 8:14 KJV)
These understood that they heard was God’s word and were willing to go forward in His will – until they were faced with cares, need for riches or chose to enjoy the pleasures of this life instead of living in faith the steps it takes to grow in God’s will. Actually, some of these do have faith, live virtuous lives while acquiring knowledge - but become stuck before achieving patience.
Maybe we should change minding Ps&Qs to Patience Quotient. I should take stock of my Patience Quotient on a regular basis. It takes patience to see God’s work when we have prayed and there is no apparent answer – or the most apparent answer is “No.” Especially when life does not make sense to us.
No – I will not go into specific examples of temptations we face. They are personal and affect each one of us differently. What is a temptation for me may not be for someone else - I might mention something that could become temptation to another. We can be certain that what takes our attention away from growing through God’s grace, that is temptation. And, it has a source both Ezekiel and Peter knew:
There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. (Ezekiel 22:25 KJV)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8 KJV)
That message has not changed. Some temptations look very good. Some come as tribulations and are painful. Some tribulations come as the result of giving in to temptations. Too often Christian growth ends at this step. Others, as Paul, continue forward:
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:3-5 KJV)
Work through to patience with God’s help – never alone. It's a journey with Him.