The Theory, the Practice, and the Fruit of Patience - Purity 817
Purity 817 08/23/2022 Purity 817 Podcast
Today’s photo of the sun dipping into the Pacific Ocean over a gathering of adoring palm trees comes to us from a friend who captured this scene while vacationing in Hawaii back on May 30th.
Well, it’s the second workday of the week and even though I am on vacation this week, I am being reminded that we never get to take a day off from life and no matter what our work status may be on any given day, we will invariably find that there are “things to do” that will challenge our peace and test our patience.
As much as I could probably devote a lot of time to this topic, I have to cut to the chase because I have an early morning appointment to get my car serviced and so I have to hurry up to get there on time, where I have already decided to sit and wait until whatever is making my car’s check engine light is diagnosed and resolved. Seriously? Yes, seriously.
And in those previous statements, I have already set the stage for an exposition of the theory and the practice of patience.
Patience reveals problems. Or is it Problems require patience? Correct, I think those are both right.
The need for patience is born out of two things: reality and our expectations.
In this life we will be called to wait for things. That is a truth. I don’t know if enough scientific study has been done on that but if there was the “law of waiting” would probably be put right along side the law of gravity as one of the t operating principles of life in this universe.
However, even though the inevitability of waiting is more or less certain in life, many of our expectations are based on beliefs that either deny or seek to control the waiting aspect of our lives.
Here are some beliefs that we may assume in life that will hinder our ability to practice patience:
· Everything will be okay.
· I shouldn’t have to wait.
· People are lying to me.
· People are trying to take advantage of me.
· Bad things always happen to me.
· My rights are being violated.
· This is wrong.
· If I plan adequately or do everything right, I shouldn’t have to wait.
· I am an important person.
· This is an unreasonable amount of time to wait!
Everyone of these statements are either a false expectation based on a lie to the extreme (which are revealed by words like everything, always, or should) or are based on personal value judgements (that are based on or perceptions of our selves or others, and may have been formed by past experiences that (may or may not be operating in the current situation) that we are imposing on reality.
In my car appointment this morning, I have already possibly set myself up for a challenge to my patience. Do you know what it is?
While it may not be clear, I stated that I will sit and wait until the problem with my car’s check engine light is resolved.
That indicates that I expect it to be:
· Resolved today,
· Resolved today, within normal business hours
And because I got an early appointment, it is my hope and my expectation that it will be resolved in a “timely” manner.
What “timely” is will be determined. My value judgement of timely and the reality of the time it will take to perform the repair may not be the same thing and if I am holding some of those other beliefs such as Waiting is wrong, certain times of waiting are unreasonable, or I am an important person who is being lied to, take advantage of, or having my rights violated, my ability to be patient will be less and my ability to maintain my peace and joy will be hindered.
So what do we do here?
Well, this is where being a Christian who is walking in the Spirit, should really come in handy because if we walk in the Spirit the fruit of patience can be cultivated but as Romans 12:1-2 tells us our transformation will be based on our surrendering our bodies for the Lord’s service and renewing our mind according to God’s will, that is based on His truth, His word.
As Christians, we are to surrender ourselves to best represent God’s kingdom and we are encouraged to be patient people and it is through challenging all those false expectations and personal value judgements that we can be victorious in being patient and experiencing peace and joy while we wait.
Psalm 1, the first psalm guys – as in maybe the first thing we should practice, in speaking of the “blessed man” says that
Psalm 1:2 (NKJV)
2 … his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
So our waiting period could actually be used for Bible study, if you so choose, but it could also be used to meditate on the various truths that God’s word various truths that will help us in our current situation.
Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) says
9 A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
This verse is one of several in the Bible that points to God’s sovereignty, that means God is in control, we aren’t and those people behind the counter aren’t either. Although we may plan and hope and expect things in life, God’s sovereign will be done. If God wants us to wait, we will wait. If God wants us to literally die in the waiting room, we are dead. He directs our steps. So if we thinking waiting is wrong, we are thinking that this part of God’s plan for our lives is wrong and instead of using the time to meditate on His word and Him, we are actually opposing His will and denying His presence in our lives.
We put the focus on ourselves and totally forget about our relationship with Him. We make ourselves an idol of sorts and demand to be served and worshiped by everyone to do our will rather than anyone else. Instead of taking joy that other patrons have been successfully serviced and are released to go, we can become envious and angry when our focus is on the unholy trinity of “Me, Myself, & I”.
So because I am pressed for time, I have to move it to the end here. Patience…..
But I hope this little bit I have written and spoken about today helps those who hear or read this that “patience” is “not just grinning and bearing it”. There is no peace if we just impatiently endure or keep busy until our waiting time is over.
Our whole lives as Christians are intended to be lived in the presence of God to represent the kingdom of God and are based on our identity in Christ and the trust that God is with us and the course of our lives are meaningful and purposeful because they are being directed by Him. He calls the shots and knows about everything we are going through,
So meditate on the truths of God’s word as you live your life and keep walking and talking with God no matter where your life will take you. The peace in His presence, wisdom in applying His word to our life, and when we walk in the Spirit we can have joy regardless of the things we have to face or the times we have to wait.
“Practice what you preach” is not just following rules. Our daily spiritual practice is to live in God’s presence, according to His wisdom and ways. Practice may not make us perfect but if we practice our faith, we will progress to be more and more like Christ in our character and we will see the fruit of patience grow in our lives.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Psalm 60:12 (NLT2)
12 With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.
Today’s verse tells us that with God’s help we will do mighty things and defeat the enemies in our lives.
Today’s verse was given under the heading “When we feel powerless..” and it can be a great encouragement when we are facing hardship or opposition. This verse is the concluding verse of a psalm where David plead to the Lord for victory over His literal enemies, the Moabites, who had recently defeated Him. He was crying out after a loss for victory.
They say David had a heart for God and it is proven in this Psalm because David goes to the Lord when it would seem that the Lord had let him down in a major way. Bit David knows who God is and that He is more than able to turn things around, so even in his defeat David doesn’t give up his faith. He still trusts that God can do mighty things in and through his life. So David disavows any ideas that he can be successful in his own strength, and says that only with God’s help will he be able to do mighty things.
John MacArthur’s commentary on this verse says that “The nation relearned the truth that only God gives victory.”
So for us, we may need to relearn that our victories come through the Lord and that if we wish to do mighty things, we need to be in a close personal relationship with God that is defined by love and obedience to His ways in order to see the Lord do mighty things in our lives that will make our enemies flee.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
The Powers Exploit Our Inclination to Do Evil
Paul believed a penchant toward violating God’s standards of holiness characterizes all of humanity. This inclination, which he often called “the flesh” or “the old self,” is adequate in and of itself to prevent people from pleasing God. Yet Satan and his powers strike where we are most vulnerable. Our powerful supernatural opponent takes advantage of our bent toward doing precisely what God would not want us to do. He exploits our flesh in his ongoing effort to interrupt God’s redemptive purposes.
In some fashion, not explained by Paul, evil spirits entice individuals to carry out the depraved notions and desires that surface from this inner impulse. Paul described unredeemed humanity as incapable of resisting these base desires because of their demonically enhanced appeal. We need to have God’s own Spirit and to appropriate his power in order to resist the enticement to do evil. This is why Paul can describe unredeemed humanity as being in slavery to sin or the devil. People do not have the inherent ability to overcome such powerful enticement.
We must be careful not to misinterpret Paul by creating a caricature of what he meant when he referred to non-Christians as being in slavery to sin. He clearly did not intend to convey that all unbelievers are engaged in thievery, murder, sodomy and all the other gross forms of ethical degradation. For Paul any pattern of action motivated by and centered on anything other than God’s express will qualifies as sin. Thus he indicted his unbelieving kinspeople as living apart from God, although they claimed to follow God’s law. They followed the law neither in the way God had intended nor by the means he provided. A person who appears outwardly moral—and who is kind, philanthropic and generous—may therefore be just as much a part of Satan’s kingdom as a person sold out to the occult. That person may have a motivation for performing good deeds that indeed runs counter to the pure and selfless motive that Christ would expect.
According to Paul, unless a person is a member of Christ’s kingdom, that person is a member of Satan’s kingdom. Becoming a member of Christ’s kingdom does not involve making an effort to obey God’s revealed law. Rather, it involves a rescue act performed by Christ himself and an initiation into his kingdom through receiving the gift of his Spirit.
Becoming a Christian neither removes the internal impulse to do evil nor deters the powers from trying to exploit it. Indeed, Paul envisioned the believer as coming under rather intense pressure from the hostile spirits to displease God, especially during vulnerable times (as in periods of depression or crisis). For Christians the main difference now is that they can draw on the enabling power that God offers as the means to resist these influences. Ultimately, Satan seeks not only to prevent the development of the virtues within the lives of Christians but also to undermine faith in God.
The Powers and Sickness
In the New Testament world it was common for people to believe the agency of an evil spirit causes sickness (a belief that is also characteristic of many contemporary non-Western cultures). Such a belief is reflected in the Gospels. Like the issue of exorcism, Paul did not address this topic in any detail except for a brief description of his “thorn in the flesh,” which he said in actuality was an evil angelic power (2 Cor 12:7–10). For Paul this spirit exerted its hostile power in a way that produced some unknown physical malady. Paul resigned himself to live with the physical discomfort and hindrance because he interpreted it as a situation that God designed to insure humility and divine dependence in his life. It may seem odd to us that God would permit an evil spirit to hurt his devoted apostle. Paul, however, was familiar with the Old Testament and therefore aware of God’s past use of the realm of evil to accomplish his purposes. It is instructive for us to note three things about this situation:
1. Paul had an infirmity, and he was able to identify its origin, assigning the cause to the work of a spirit entity. Sickness and infirmity can have a direct demonic cause. Although Paul did not divulge his diagnostic procedures, his example should challenge us, not only to leave open the possibility of an infirmity being inflicted by a demon, but also to develop a keen sense of discernment.
2. Paul sought God’s release from this manifestation of the evil one. This is natural since believers, through union with Christ, share in his authority over the powers of darkness. Paul demonstrated that Christians do have the right to pray for healing from illness, whether the infirmity is produced by the direct work of a demon or occurs simply because people are still earthbound creatures. Sickness and suffering are characteristic of the present evil age; they are not a part of God’s kingdom. As citizens of the heavenly kingdom, therefore, we should ask for this special appropriation of the power of the new age, and then God might grant healing. It is important to stress that if we ask God for healing, we should believe he is perfectly capable of performing it.
3. Paul was not healed. Surely it would have been tempting for him to conclude that he did not pray with an adequate amount of faith. Rather, Paul apparently assessed the complex circumstances and determined that his continued affliction was a part of God’s sovereign purpose. In fact, Paul was certain that he knew precisely why God was allowing his condition to continue; it was to keep him from exalting himself. We do not have a guarantee from God that we will always be healed if we ask him. We cannot assume that God desires his kingdom to so invade the present evil age that sickness will be progressively eliminated. Our bodies are in the process of decay, and we will all die. The causes of our deaths will be evil—whether through an automobile accident, pneumonia, heart disease or by cancer. Part of our existence is still rooted in the present age. God, however, may use our sickness or handicap to accomplish some specific purpose in our lives or the lives of those with whom we have contact—even if we do not have the ability to discern what that purpose might be.
4. Paul’s failure to be healed did not devastate him as a person or cripple his ministry; on the contrary, it enhanced his ministry. God revealed to him that weakness (which includes illness or handicap) is all right since it forces the child of God to depend on God’s own enabling power and grace. Paul did not continue to seek God’s healing touch. He learned to be content in enduring the illness or handicap he suffered.
Because we have been immersed in an antisupernatural world view, Western Christians tend to have an easier time accepting illness and not expecting healing. On the one hand, we should remember that God is capable of healing and does work healing today. On the other hand, if God does not choose to heal, we need to realize that our faithfulness to God in suffering (or in persecution) is also a moving demonstration of God’s power that could lead people to respond to Christ.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ps 60:12.
 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 184–187.