We live in a modern culture that minimizes the power of patience, so it's important to understand that as the world around us goes further out of control, we are empowered as Christians through the tools God gives us.
One of these important tools (or weapons) could become more and more distant from our lives. Sadly, the typical road-rage driver, for instance, just might be the churchgoer—or worse yet, the church leader—you bump into this coming Sunday morning. Having patience in an impatient culture is a God-weapon for the body of Christ.
"I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:9a).
John is identifying himself as their brother and companion, then saying that he and the ones he is writing to, are in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.
The Patience of Jesus Christ
Jesus as being patient? Jesus is kind, gentle and merciful, but I wouldn't always think of Him as patient. He didn't show patience when He turned over the tables in the temple, and He didn't demonstrate patience when He rebuked the Pharisees. Or, did He?
"My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience. But let patience perfect its work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4).
What does Jesus mean?
The word "patience" is the Greek word hupomenō. It is derived from two other Greek words, hoop-o`, which means "under or below," and men`-o, which means "to stay, abide, endure, to stand. To stay (in a given place, state, relation, or expectancy)." When the two words are combined to make the word hupomenō, it means "to stand under and endure with expectancy."
When we take this biblical understanding with the message Jesus taught and displayed while walking on the earth (the temple table and Pharisees for instance), we get the real understanding of what Jesus is saying to us as we live in this most impatient culture.
So What Exactly Is Jesus Saying?
The patience of Jesus Christ is having the audacity to take God at His Word and the tenacity to stand in it until it manifests.
There is divine power through the patience of Jesus Christ! Patience is a very important weapon for us today. Jesus is telling us (and showing us) to stand and remain, yet at the same time, He is instructing us to be aggressive. This directive requires action; it's not passive! It's how we live in the kingdom of God while walking on earth in this impatient world. You see, the power of patience in our lives is discovered both with and in Christ. Understanding this powerful principle will help us fight and win our battles.
How Do We Apply This Truth?
If we're being pummeled by the enemy, we may prematurely fight back or run away to avoid further assault and chaos, when God needs us to do the exact opposite. This is what Satan wants! The enemy wants us to move out of timing with God; he wants us to be impatient. God, on the other hand, is telling us to be patient while in the fight and learn how the enemy is throwing punches at us. All the while, we are to develop a biblical plan of action through prayer that systematically brings down Satan's strongholds against us. Then on God's "go," we move—on His timing!
Smith Wigglesworth, stated, "God said it, I believe it; that settles it." It is not something we have to think about. We simply stand in it. We choose to have a made-up mind. This means we will practice and practice, applying this principle until it starts to work in and through us. We acquire the rights, privileges and blessings of the kingdom of God by applying the principle of patience in our lives.
In the kingdom of God, we learn to walk in power and authority, which is discovered through the patience of Christ. As Christians, we have been transformed into a greater image, which is the image of Jesus Christ. This higher authority offers us greater spiritual power that the world cannot offer or take away. In a world that is quickly moving off of the moral deep end, the greatest sign to people around us isn't always power gifts (healing, prophecy, miracles and so forth), but the sign that illustrates Christ in us is through demonstrating patience.
The power tool that we have been given to fight against the enemy is the patience of Christ, and it is available to you! Take hold of it and make it yours.
Dr. Bill Means has been in the ministry for over 20 years. He and his wife established and pastored a non-denominational church in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for over 14 years. He is the president of Inner Circle Ministries, which focuses on building people, raising them up and sending them out into ministry. He received his doctorate from St. Thomas Christian University in Jacksonville, Florida. Means ministers in Africa and South America, as well as in the United States of America. For more information, visit innercircleministries.org.
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