PATIENT PARTICIPANTS (Olympic Lessons 7) Hebrews 12:1
I’ve always loved to run. When I was younger, I ran as fast as I could, whatever the distance. Now that I’m older I still run a lot, but not nearly as fast. I no longer try for speed, now I pace myself so I can keep going the full distance. I’m no longer working on my speed. Now I’m working on my perseverance. That’s what the writer of Hebrews says we should do in our Christian life as well. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
The story of the tortoise and the hare has always been a favorite of mine because I’ve found that persistence is more important than swiftness. That is true in training for the Olympics, or any sport. It takes patient perseverance to achieve a goal, just like Hebrews 12:1 says.
That certainly describes how God deals with mankind, doesn’t it? He waited 2,000 before sending the flood, then hundreds of years before sending the Jews into captivity and now thousands of years before the tribulation. And what about all the patience He shows each of us individually? Pole vaulter Bob Richards said, “One reason why I think a great deal of Jesus is because He never pointed out the weaknesses and shortcomings of people. He always thought of the dream that God had for their lives. Never emphasizing their failures, He simply said, ‘Go and sin no more. Be what God intends you to be.’”
We need patience and perseverance, too, as we run our race. The race starts at salvation. God, angels, demons, believers and unbelievers are watching. God sets the course for each one of us. There are obstacles and hindrances in our path. Our goal is Christlikeness. For faithfully living for Him we will be rewarded with crown.
Yet patience doesn’t come naturally or easily. Have you ever seen a patient baby? Even as we mature, we are still in a hurry and want things done a fast as possible. We want instant spirituality, instant fruit, even instant patience. We don’t see a need for endurance, we want things done immediately, if not sooner. We pray, “Dear God, I want patience & I want it now!”
The world doesn’t tolerate qualities like patience, but God does (Hebrews 6:12; Galatians 6:9). J Hudson Taylor said there are 3 absolutely necessary characteristics to be a missionary: 1) patience, 2) patience and 3) patience. How can we become more patient? What’s the secret? No secret, but lots of insight from God’s Word.
“Run with patience” sounds like a contradiction to us because we think of patience as lying down and doing nothing while running is moving ahead with speed. However, we aren’t to run with speed but with patience. When I run, I try to set a pace which I can consistently keep for the whole distance I want to cover. Starting fast then having to stop short of the goal must be avoided at all costs. Learning to pace themselves is an important skill for any runner, and for Christians as well.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, for only God can produce it in us (Galatians 5:22-23). Have you ever tried to fake patience when you were impatient? How well did it go?
We miss many blessings in life because of our impatience. One day a woman called a theater she had attended the night before and described a very, very expensive piece of jewelry she lost while there. The person who answered the phone went to look for it and found it, but when they came back to the phone to tell the woman she discovered the woman had hung up. How many blessings have I missed out on because of my impatience? What about you?
Thank God for the patience He has shown you in your life. Ask Him to help you be that patient with others. Ak Him to develop the fruit of patience in your life (Galatians 5:22-23).
INDIA UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST:
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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