“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
- Cultivating Patience means Weeding, or laying aside sin: Now we get to the nitty gritty of what it means to weed and rid your heart of sin that chokes out the fruit of patience. Two ideas come to mind
- Self-centeredness: Impatience is fueled by self-centeredness because we think that our agenda is most important and anything that impedes that agenda is the devil. Illustration: Traffic; Guy whips around traffic and drives on the shoulder in order to get around and go where he wants to go. What do we say, “Who does that guy think he is?” He thinks he’s the most important person on the road, and so do you! We think we are the most important people in the world and everyone else should think that too.
- Unbelief: At the end of the day, impatience is a lack of faith. You and I, when we are impatient are actually saying to God, “What is taking you so long? I better handle this myself because it doesn’t look like you’re going to get it done. The definition of patience that we use with our kids is simple: Keeping a calm spirit while waiting for God to work out his will. Illustration: Traffic; Guy who goes, “Yep, I knew it. Traffic all the time. I quit. I’m going home and never driving again!”
- Cultivating Patience Means Watering with the Word:
- The strength of patience is hope and the power of hope is the Word. The Bible empowers our hope in God, insofar as what he has promised is reliable. That hope gives us strength both to endure and persevere. If you want to cultivate patience, read the Bible.
- Psalm 130:5
- Romans 15:4
- Read the theme of the Bible: Jesus Christ. Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross (stayed in God’s place and went at God’s pace). He also endured this suffering (12:3), in order to help you endure. He was patient to help you be. Look to Christus Exemplar, or Christ our example. As you follow Jesus, walk in the light as he is in the light.
- Read the characters of the Bible: We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. This is not as it is often preached. Many people think that the cloud of witnesses are the saints of old that stand cheering us on as spectators. That is not what this means. They are standing before Christ, worshipping him. There is no evidence in any of the Scriptures that people stand over us and watch us. The witnesses do what witnesses do. They bear witness! They give testimony. Of what? Chapter 11 points to the reality that they testify of the joy of the life of patient faith as they did not receive what was promised. Look at just a few examples…
- Noah: Took 120 years to build the Ark.
- Abraham: Largest falterings of his life were due to his lack of patience.
- Prophets: Isaiah and Jeremiah ministered to people who never listened to them. Hosea married a prostitute who left him and became a slave, only to have God call him to buy her back and make her his wife again.
- Job: Have you ever heard someone say of another person, “He has the patience of Job?” The reason for that is because no one has endured suffering to the degree that Job endured, eyes set upon God, yet still seeking to justify himself in his own self-righteousness, prompting God to answer him in might and power.