Patience Is A Discipline?
Posted on January 22, 2019 by America's Keswick in Freedom Fighters
“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.” — James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
The Cambridge online dictionary defines patience as, “the ability to accept delay, suffering, or annoyance without complaining or becoming angry.” Some others say “to stay calm”, “not getting annoyed”, “good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence”, or my personal favorite, “the ability to wait for a long time without becoming angry or upset.” So, if any of you reading this today have any one of these definitions to what your level of patience is, I lift an AMEN to you…’cos I fall kinda sort in all these areas, real short to be honest.
I didn’t view patience as something of a discipline to practice early on in my Christian walk. I just thought it would come with the territory but the deeper I read into the New Testament, the more I realized that wasn’t the case. Especially when you see stuff like “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” or endurance in some translations. When I had my “AH-HA” moment about the need for salvation, I didn’t see the need for my faith to be tested. I was a hapless sinner whose life just got that major impact of Jesus Christ. I thought, since I said yes to Jesus, why test me for anything?
Well the answer is quite simply one word, growth. First of all, God didn’t create all this stuff around us outta boredom. He started “in the beginning” and everything else got added to it, when it came to us, He gave us a simple instruction, “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” (Gen 1:28). Now that plan got interrupted by the failure of tested obedience, so our ability to grow in Him got put off by a couple thousand years but then came Jesus to restore that ability.
In John chapter 15, Jesus will tell His disciples, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (verse 4) So once we realize that that our walk cannot be maintained properly unless its attached to the One who gives life to our steps, we “mature” into a better relationship with Him. But then something happens with all this spiritual growth and maturity.
The writer of Hebrews tells us something in chapter 12 that deserves noting. He repeats what we find stated in Job 5:17, “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” 17th century commentor, Matthew Henry makes this point here. It is to call this “reproving” something that comes from the Father’s love, it is for our good and is a message from heaven. We’ll see the writer of Hebrews come into agreement of this in verses 7-8 of chapter 12… “It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
Somewhere along the road the word “discipline” got a really bad reputation and I, for one, am someone who still cringes when I hear the word. It is like a double-edged sword because in one sense we see it as a punishment in order to gain control or enforce obedience, and in that sense we all kick at the goads, I don’t care who you are. But in another sense, if we can see it as training to improve strength and self-control then patience as a discipline becomes possible as we grow and mature in our spiritual connection to God as a whole triune being!! (Did you notice those fruit of the Spirit words?)
When words like patience and discipline are used in the same sentence, I get a non-peaceful, uneasy feeling about myself. I’m kinda down with other things like joy, kindness and faithfulness but to discipline myself in patience leaves me feeling like I will have no rest. Funny thing here is, not finding rest in the first place was what motivated me to seek salvation in Him who said He would give me rest, and His will is to give me rest in Him.
So, what’s a boy to do when discipline comes his way? What does He do when he has to find “the ability to wait for a long time without becoming angry or upset?” Well I all I got is… “Count it all joy…let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “Patience is never obtained through bored indifference” — Henry M. Morris III
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. – Genesis 3:21