Where Patience Comes From
Patience starts inside. The ability to stay down and not give up or blow up comes not from self-discipline only.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right? Well, I’m fine. I may sound as though I’m singing bass, but then it’s because it’s so early in the morning. I’m glad I don’t have to sing on these broadcasts. Wouldn’t that be something if I came on singing? Well, I used to, believe it or not. Yes, I did back in 19 — what would it have been? 35. I was on the air live every morning in Philadelphia at 7:00 and I would come on singing, “God is still on the throne. He never forsaketh His own. The burdens, oppresses, and trials, distresses, He never will leave us alone. God is still on the throne and He will remember His own. His promise is true. He will not forget you.” And then I would stop and I would say, “Are you listening?” And then I’d finish the song, “God is still on the throne.” How about that? Well, you’re fortunate that I don’t sing. I think I would clear the air, clear your sinuses, and lose my audience all in one fell swoop. Well, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and it’s my joy to say, “how in the world are you?” and to open the Word of God with you.
We are in II Peter Chapter 1. We just were talking about the fact that Peter said, “There are some things you and I can do by faith,” and said he, “To your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.” How far have we gotten? Well, we started with that word “knowledge.” How do you know? The word “knowledge” means to know by experience, not just head knowledge, 2 plus 2 equal 4, not just head knowledge but the knowledge by experience of your relationship with this wonderful person, the Lord Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit, the presence of your loving Heavenly Father in your life.
You remember the widow woman that said after the prophet had restored her son to life, “By this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.” A year of being fed miraculously hadn’t convinced her, but the evidence of new life did convince her. If you want to convince people that Jesus is real, make sure that God’s new life is being shown through you. Paul spoke of the answer to his problems and distresses. He said, “We had the answer that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raised up the dead.” Paul says over in Philippians 3, “That I may know him and the power of His resurrection.” You see, what convinces people is life. Motion, action, and production — all of these things are interesting but they are not necessarily convincing, but when there’s the miracle of God-given life shining through you and me–that convinces other people — knowledge by experience.
John the Baptist needed to know whether or not he had made a mistake in introducing the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “Aren’t thou,” and we would interpret the word “indeed.” “Aren’t thou indeed He should come or do we wait for another?” I’m rotting in jail. Why do you let me stay in jail if you are the Messiah, the one whom I introduced? The Lord Jesus said to those who came inquiring, “Go back and tell John what you see. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” And when that message came back to John the Baptist, I’m sure although the record does not say what he said, I’m sure that John was satisfied.
So how do you know your personal commitment and experience with the Lord as a result? Your awareness of Christ, what Christ does in the lives of other people, and your experience of God in His Word. Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you, the washing of water by the Word, to know that you know that you know because you had a real experience with the Lord, that resurrection life is in and through you.
This is our review but I’m doing it for somebody who is just catching up with us. Is that all right with the rest of you? I trust so. By faith, then the experience with God. By faith, what the bible calls temperance, and in the Greek New Testament, the word is “egkrateia.” It’s strength inside, inner strength. How do you gain that? You gain it by surrendering to your blessed Lord. Surrender is built into your bones. You’re going to give up to something and someone. Inevitably you’ll give up.
So Paul says in Romans 6, “As ye have yielded the members of the body slaves to unrighteousness and though the result was more iniquity, even so same method, even so now, yield your members slaves to righteousness and the result will be holiness.” “Christ is our righteousness,” the Bible says, and so you can put his name in there. Yield yourself to Christ. See, give up to your Lord. Let him handle the situation. That’s how you gain inner strength — trusting your blessed Lord with all of His almighty power. God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh within us. You see same truth there, although I’m quoting now from Ephesians. Inner strength comes from surrender to Jesus in your inner life.
Well then, by faith, you can add some other things, new dimensions in your life by faith. What is the next one? Patience. By faith, you could add patience. I think of that cartoon where this man was pushing a baby buggy and the baby was yelling, just yelling and screaming, and the man was saying, “Now, be patient, Albert. Be patient. Be patient.” And this lady was saying to him, “I think it’s so wonderful, sir, that you speak so kindly to the baby and teach him how to be patient.” “Oh,” he said, “When I say, ‘Be patient, Albert,’ I’m talking to me. I’m Albert.”
Well, trouble is patience doesn’t come through lecturing ourselves or through someone else lecturing us, does it? No. You see, you get tired of holding on to your emotions. You get tired of controlling yourself. And by and by, if someone is harassing you, you’re tired of putting up with it and you say, “I’ve had it. I’m going to let him have it. I’m going to tell him a thing or two.” Or if the situation is one that is constantly wearing upon you, you simply say, “Well, I’ve had it and this is it.” Patience is not something that we get by being lectured, nor indeed do we get patience by sublimation or by self-discipline. It may last for a while, but you get weary of it. Am I telling you the truth so far as your own experience is concerned?
Well, how do you achieve it? First of all, you have to know what patience is. In your Greek New Testament, the word is “hupomone” which means stay down. Stay down. Stay down. Don’t give up or blow up or bust up. Stay down.
Has it ever occurred to you that the place where you’re most effective is when your spirit is bowed before the Lord and you’re down before Him? That’s why for many of us, praying is more effective when we’re kneeling down.
I made a call some time back on a dear person who had been listening on the radio and I happened to be in the neighborhood so I called, we talked, and then we were about to pray. And as we were about to pray, my friend said, “I’d rather kneel down. I pray better when I’m kneeling.” Well, I could ascend to that joyfully. I think that’s true for many of us. Well yes, you can pray when you’re lying in bed. You could pray when you’re sitting down. The Bible said, “David sat before the Lord. He prayed while he was sitting.” It’s all right. There’s no law that says you have to kneel down. I think probably the idea underlying all of the positions we may assume in prayer is that our spirit needs to be down before God. We need on the inside to be bowed before Him. It’s what you are inside that counts.
Remember the naughty little boy who refused to sit down? There was some kind of an occasion when his father told him to sit down and he wouldn’t? He was a high-spirited little fellow and he just wouldn’t obey. And finally, his father reached over and forcibly, taking him by the shoulders, sat him down in the chair, and the little boy looked his father in the eye and said, “I may be sitting down outside but I’m still standing up inside.” Oh, my, so many of us are that way. So patience, this matter of adding patience by faith means that you need to get down before God and yield and surrender and worship before him. Patience starts not with what I’m saying or doing on the outside. It starts on the inside.
Now, anything I tell you, I’ve been there. I have to tell you that there have been many occasions in my life as the years have passed where I could feel myself slipping out of control, be it a matter of irritation or even downright anger that was rising within me or a matter of controlling my own desires and tendencies to please myself or to seek my own game as over against someone else or to win an argument. Have you ever had that feeling? I got to win this argument? Well, see, we’re all human beings and I can recall time after time, when there were these different inner crises in my life and I can recall as I became aware of them, I recall praying, “Oh, Jesus, help me now. Hold on to me now.”
He is able. “Our Lord Jesus Christ is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with the exceeding joy,” the Bible says. Patience starts inside. The ability to stay down and not give up or blow up comes not from self-discipline only. That’s involved to be sure, but it comes first of all from the bowing of my spirit before the Lord who knows exactly how I feel and he knows of what I am capable. Will you remember that?
And so that brings us back then to the time or an admonition that you’ve heard from me so many times, and that is pray your way through the circumstances of every day. Is the boss harassing you? Are fellow employees picking on you? Are you in the midst of a family, many of whom were highly critical of you because you’re a Christian? Do you live in a community where you feel alone because you’re the only one who carries on a Christian lifestyle? Patience, patience, patience. Pray your way through the situations of every day. God will keep you where you belong. We’ll come back to this and then go on a little more the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, keep us patient with the inner humility of the believer in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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