“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Patience … the Power to Overcome, by Randall D. Kittle

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Every believer knows we are to live a life of faith, yet most never receive even a good measure of what God has promised because they never add patience to their faith. Hebrews 10:36 instructs us, “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.” In our spiritual struggle to be conformed to the nature of Christ and advance His kingdom, faith and patience are the 1-2 punch that knock out the schemes of the enemy and bring us into the promised place of victory. If we want to be all we were created to be and have all that the Lord has promised to give us, we must “… imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).

Patience is essential if the promises of God are going to bear a fruitful harvest in our lives. In the parable of the sower, Jesus said,
“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). God has promised that His word will bear fruit if we will patiently keep it. Faith must not fade, and patience keeps it alive even in the midst of trials. If by patience we maintain our faith, we will bear good fruit. Again, in Galatians 6:9 the apostle Paul writes, “Let us not become weary in well-doing, for at the proper time” (which is at God’s appointed time, not our convenient time) “we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” From these verses, we can see that an impatient person who grows weary of waiting will display a fruitless faith and produce no spiritual harvest. How much has been lost in the kingdom of God because of a lack of patience?

Impatience Corrodes Faith
Impatience is the opposite of patience, and is corrosive to true faith. Impatience is a danger to faith because the impatient man becomes weary and gives up. An impatient man may not say it, but his actions show that he believes that God should serve his agenda. But a patient man can say to the Lord, “Not my will but Yours be done.” An impatient man is restless and short tempered, while a patient man is a disciple who denies himself daily and takes up his cross to follow Jesus. A patient man bears pains and trials calmly and without complaint. He is steadfast, despite opposition, difficulty, and adversity.

Impatience is a work of the flesh, while patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It reflects His very presence in our lives, for He is a patient God. If He were not, we all would have been annihilated long ago. An impatient man is in a hurry and expects everything to go his way, but God is never in a hurry, and He expects His disciples to follow Him. We are to be still before the Lord without fretting. We are to wait patiently for His instruction and His direction.

Overcoming The Enemy’s Scheme
One of the schemes of the enemy to derail our walk with God and our inheriting the promises of God is Satan’s offer of a quick and painless shortcut. When we face almost any delay in fulfillment, he offers, “I’ll give you now what God has promised later.” He did this for Adam and Eve when he promised them that the forbidden fruit would make them like God. God had already given them god-likeness when He created them in His image and His likeness. Satan also offered Jesus a shortcut when he tempted Him in the wilderness. If Jesus would only bypass the cross and worship Satan, he offered to give Jesus the kingdoms of this world. However, Father God had already given Jesus a greater promise. In every shortcut Satan offers, we get the short end of the deal. We don’t want impatience to tempt us to accept the devil’s shortcut. Remember, “By your patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:19).

Sometimes, the shortcut impatience longs to take is to make God’s will happen in our time and in our way instead of waiting on the Lord. Many have been spiritually shipwrecked by taking this shortcut. One of the best examples of this in the Bible is the birth of Ishmael. God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of a multitude. However, when he considered his age and that of his wife, such increase seemed impossible. As much as they wanted to have a child, Sarah just was not able to conceive. Then she had a “good idea,” maybe God meant for Abraham and their servant girl Hagar to become intimately involved. The result of this union was Ishmael.

It is important to understand that Abraham was not some heathen or a false prophet. He was God’s friend. He walked in intimate relationship with the Lord, accurately heard His voice, had insight into His purpose, and believed Him. The problem was not whether Abraham knew the Lord. The issue was that he did not wait for God to do what He had promised. Similarly, one of our most difficult tests is whether we will patiently wait for the Lord to fulfill His promises to us. It takes faith to wait for the Lord; His timing is always different from our own.

The temptation to choose to take the shortcut instead of waiting for God’s will to unfold in God’s way, must be overcome by all followers of Christ, and patience can help us overcome it. One of the great overcoming Bible verses is James 4:7,
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” However, we inherit this promised victory only through patience. Only patience allows us to submit to God when everything in our being wants to flee away, faint, or fly off the handle. It is only through patience we can continue to resist the enemy when the darkness of delay and the discouragement of defeat loom in our faces. If through patience we will persevere, we will overcome the enemy.

Patience Overcomes Our Flesh
Patience not only assists us in overcoming the schemes of the enemy; it helps us overcome our closest adversary — ourselves. I think every one of us would confess that our earthly natures are prone to be impatient. One reason we struggle with patience is that we tend to focus on our own agendas and hold tightly to our own time lines. We find it difficult to trust that, for reasons best known only to Him, God may have a whole different schedule for us — a schedule He isn’t letting us in on. Our propensity to live with a short fuse is all about forgetting that God puts us in His waiting room on purpose, because He is often doing something we do not see behind the scenes while we wait.

It may take only a year for a construction crew to put up a tall building that scrapes the sky, but God takes a century to grow a sturdy oak tree. In like manner, it often seems to us that the Lord is working slowly to accomplish His purposes in our lives, but His grand designs take time.

One of the greatest stresses in life is this stress of waiting for God, but Isaiah assures us that
“those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31). Those who willingly wait for the Lord glisten like gemstones in the eyes of God.

However, the very thought of waiting is seen by most people as a torturous frustration that must be tolerated only if it cannot be avoided. In our society, we avoid the word “wait” like a contagious disease. We no longer even use the phrase “waiting room.” In offices, it is called the “reception room” or the “front desk,” and in hospitals, it is referred to as the “family area.”

One thing we can be sure of — God’s time is always the right time. His management of our situations is always the best management. Patience is not learning to wait
for others; it is learning to wait on God and to cooperate with His work in our lives. Patience means awaiting God’s time … without doubting God’s love. The Lord is calling us to wait upon Him in confident trust. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). We are to wait with hope-filled anticipation. You and I are in the “waiting room of God,” and as long as we wait, we must be expectant. If we live our lives as we are instructed in Psalm 37:7, waiting patiently for the Lord, we will find that He will give us what is best … in His time!  

Recently, the Lord spoke to me this important prophetic word:
“Those who wait and watch will avoid worry, for patience prepares you for peace. Only through patience can you possess peace, and only those with perseverance will withstand persecution.” Our good God knows that the end of the age will be a tumultuous time filled with persecution, but He wants us to be those who without fear can withstand the persecution and remain in perfect peace. The Spirit of the Lord is exhorting the Bride to be adorned with the beauty of patience so that through faith and patience we will be able to stand against the onslaught of the enemy and receive every precious promise the Lord has given to us.


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