“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight , and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
God describes patience in powerful ways in this passage and I want us to look at them together in an effort to understand patience according to the Scriptures.
- Patience in Hebrews 12 is perseverance, or a moving endurance (some translations actually say “patience”). The key is the word “run”. This implies moving at God’s pace (see yesterday’s definition). The old time Kewick view of sanctification was the “let go and let God” mentality,f but the Bible says that Christianity is a race that we run, following Jesus in faith and obedience.
- Patience is almost always mentioned within the context of suffering. In Hebrews 12 the word for race is the word from which we get the word “agony”. We run an agonizing marathon. The Christian life is not a sprint, but a marathon, and a painful one at that. The thing I have said over and over to people this week as I studied this amazing fruit is that “it seems to me that patience is a fruit of the Spirit that God just beats into us.” The more I look at it, it seems that all the fruits of the Spirit are those that God works into us and I can enjoy the process by obedience, even if it is difficult, or try to do things my way and make it much harder. The Bible is clear on this process in reference to patience:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(James 1:2-4 ESV)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:1-5 ESV)