"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cultivating An Attitude of Patient Endurance: Patient Endurance Amidst The Storm

(Nov 24, 2008) - Contributed by Michelle Kavanagh - Breaking The Chains Biblical Recovery Ministry

Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken away from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:32-36)

What is patient endurance? It simply means to “endure patiently”. I for one can tell you how difficult it is to endure patiently while you go through problems or through attacks of the enemy. I have felt anger, frustration, depression, and felt as though things were unfair. As much as I kept asking “How much longer Lord?!” All the time, the Lord kept telling me “patient endurance, patient endurance”. I now know there was a reason for that. He was teaching me not to rely on my own strength and emotions during my most difficult times but to rely soley on Him to see me through while He does His work. This required trust, something I wasn’t very good at. During that time I needed to learn what He wanted me to learn and if I was to do so, I had to endure my trials patiently and seek His presence for learning. This also taught self-control: 

1 Peter 5:8: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
The above verse couldn't be more true. We must always be alert and self-controlled as the enemy is always looking for a chance to attack us and tempt us back to worldly ways which are his ways. During difficulties and trials, it seems that as humans, we have been conditioned to “fight back” either verbally or physically. We are told to “do something about it” and not sit still. To not fight back is weakness. To not say something to someone who harms us is to accept the harm and allow them to “get one over on us”. But the Bible tells us to be self-controlled and to have patient endurance. When you are self controlled you are able to handle things easier and get a view point across better. You don’t fly off the handle with a response or action or go into a panic. As a Christian you are also able to handle those who come against you in your every day life. To lose self control means you are of the world but to practice patient endurance which will help you be self controlled means you are part of God’s world. What does the Bible say about this?
Galatians 5:19-21: "When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God."
These things are of the world and we know who roams the world encouraging these things...Satan.

What does God say we should do?

Galatians 5:22-26: "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!"
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Now, does this mean we won’t make mistakes and fly off the handle? No, we are human after all and are of the flesh. But when you apply what the Bible says and patiently endure trials, temptations and difficult situations with others more than not, you are on your way to overcoming worldly ways and struggles.

Now, there are times we have to speak up or do something in difficult situations. If someone hurts our feelings, yes we should forgive and overlook it. But if it continues, let them know it but without the anger. When you are self controlled you are able to get your point across more calmly and respond in a Godly manner because you can think more clearly. We must always pray for Godly wisdom, when possible, before approaching a conversation with someone as there may be tension. But sometimes these situations come upon us quickly and this is where your practice of patient endurance and self control will come into play. If you feel anger within, take a step back and remove yourself from the situation if you have to until you have prayed a few minutes and your thinking is clearer.

Now, just as there are certain times we may need to speak up, there are many more times we should not. That doesn’t mean we are weak if we don’t. It doesn’t mean the other person is “getting the upper hand” or “getting the last word in” if we choose to be silent. It means we are choosing to walk as Christ walked and not give into arguments and hostile situations. I know of one time where Christ showed anger in the Bible and it was with the money changers at the temple. I’m sure He raised his voice or had a tone just a bit when speaking with the Pharisees regarding their religious ways. But when it came to trials and temptations, Christ endured them patiently, all the time praying for strength and endurance. When it came to people opposing Him in His thoughts and views, he endured their questions patiently and responded with Scripture. When they chose not to listen and start arguing, He walked away…a lesson we all should learn.

Remember, the enemy will try everything possible to draw you back to your old ways now that you are progressing forward in your recovery, but the Bible says in James 4:7:

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
This means you must turn to God for help and turn away from the enemy and he will leave you. What does it mean to resist? It means to ignore, turn away, and stand firm against. If you are experiencing temptations to go back to an old way, cast away the thoughts in the name of Jesus Christ, pray, read your Bible and if necessary call a friend to pray for you. Soon, those thoughts will leave you because you resisted your enemy and did not give into his taunting. Remember, you must give God the chance to rescue you and He will rescue you:
Psalm 18:17-18 (advise to read of Psalm 18): "He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. "

We've talked about anger and words but maybe you suffered from anxiety attacks at one time from constant worrying but had overcome it through Christ and hadn't suffered from it in years. Now you are faced with an situation in your family that is causing you to worry constantly again, removing that trust in God and placing the burden upon your shoulders once again. It happens...but it doesn't have too. Now is the time to patiently endure this family situation, praying constantly and putting that trust in God because God will take care of the situation, you just have to patiently endure it for a while and learn from it. The most important thing you will learn is how trustworthy God is!

Maybe right now you are having difficulty with anger, with your addictions, temptations, with a family problem, a problem at work, or whatever your difficulty is. Maybe you feel the path to recovery is too hard and you feel like giving up. Maybe you feel as though the enemy is always attacking you and it’s easier just to stay down. Well, the Lord wants you to patiently endure this trial. He wants you to apply the instructions he has given to you in the Bible to get through this difficulty. What are those instructions?

1. Believe in God

2. Trust in God to see you through this difficulty

3. Rely soley on God gathering all your strength from Him

4. Patient endurance – endure this trial or difficulty patiently

5. Be self-controlled – do not allow your emotions to rule you. For your emotions to rule you means the enemy rules you!

Another thing to remember is that sometimes we go through trials in our lives because God is trying to tell us something. Maybe we have been told something over and over by Him but we just aren't listening. So, He now has to bring us back down to ground level and I won't lie to you...this can hurt. He will strip us bare spiritually in order to get our attention and begin fresh. You don't rebuild a broken down house with old materials. You gut it and start fresh with new materials to make it stronger. Sometimes that's what He has to do with us. We start out in the beginning of our Christian life at ground level, doing what we can for the Lord and being conscious of doing it right. Then after a while we come to a point where we become lax, we begin to allow old sins back into our lives. God tries to warn us using other people, things we read, etc, but we tend to ignore it. After a while, without realizing it, the enemy has not only put his foot in the door but now has completely entered because we became lax in our way of thinking. This is when God may decide it's time for discipline, stripping everything away from you and bringing you back down to ground level hoping to get your attention. If He does get your attention, you have two choices...you can either accept it and allow Him to do His work in you, as painful as it may be or you can resist it, fighting it all the way. If you resist it, you had better think who now rules your life and is causing that resistance.

Pray today for God to help you patiently endure the difficulty you may be going through at this time and to give you strength to endure this trial. Ask Him to remove the blinders the enemy may have covered your eyes with and to reveal anything in your life that needs changing or removing and ask Him to bring it forward to you so you may be conscious of it. Then wait for His answer and watch for the changes in your life.

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