Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
- TITLE: When Is Enough, Enough?
By Doug Laird
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Some rationalize that it’s just a matter of some of us having longer “fuses” than others. Others say it’s a matter of one’s maturity or the degree of abuse that one has become accustomed to receiving.
The ability to be patient with circumstances or with the people involved is often determined by the mindset we are experiencing at any given moment.
There are many physical and physiological triggers that can contribute to the loss of patience when our patience is maintained by human ability.
Often times, the situation or the person we lose patience with had the misfortune of being the final “straw that broke the camel’s back” in a series of events.
Neither they nor their actions would have resulted in such an explosive response on our part on any other day, but it was at that moment that we finally “lost it”.
Most of us would desire to more patient than our fallen nature and human abilities allow. The problem is that we try to accomplish this via human means.
Impatience, the antithesis of the mind of Christ, is a manifestation of our fallen nature. Paul, nearly thirty years after he was saved, was still struggling with the fallen nature within him (1).
The fallen nature increases with strength and intensity to the same degree that a believer matures and advances in the spiritual realm!
The sin nature can do nothing to diminish our salvation, but has the potential to do much to neutralize the production of divine good during our post salvation spiritual life.
The fallen nature contends with the regenerated human spirit for the control of the mind. Our thoughts are what determine our overt behaviors. This internal conflict will continues as long as the believer remains in his natural body.
We must distinguish the difference between the patience that is the product of human power and the patience that is the product of God the Holy Spirit.
Patience is one of the characteristics (2) of the unconditional love that disciples are to possess, develop, maintain, and exhibit toward others (3).
Patience is one of the several links in the chain of characteristics that reflect our spiritual progress and glorifies God.
Atheists can produce limited patience based on human strength and ability, but only believers, while filled (controlled) by God the Holy Spirit (4), can produce and maintain the unlimited patience of God.
Any state of mind that is produced and maintained by human strength and ability is subject to collapsing when enough pressure is applied, but nothing that is produced and maintained by the power of God can be diminished.
Our success or failure in situations that require the patience of God will be determined by the power source that we choose to use.
We have no control over what others may do or say, to or about us, but we have full control and responsibility of how we choose to respond.
Divine patience glorifies God and is therefore subject to attack. Satanic attacks can come in the form of sudden, unexpected, and intense adversity, or gradually over a period of time.
Either way, the objective is to get the believer to get upset with the problem instead of focusing on the divine solution.
Loss of patience usually involves the sin of failure to interact with others applying the unconditional love of God and/or the sin of refusing to forgive others once we’ve been offended.
Human ability, desire, and strength have limits. Humans will inevitably reach a point where enough IS enough and react accordingly.
However, if the patience applied is generated and maintained under the filling (control) of God the Holy Spirit, the believer never reaches a point that is beyond His power to supply him with either the means to endure (5) or to escape (6) in order to glorify God.
There are times when we are to speak and there are times when our calm silence speaks louder than words (7).
(1) Romans 7 (2) 1Cor. 13: 4 (3) John 13: 34 (4) John 15:5 (5) Phil.4: 13 (6) 1Cor.10: 13 (7) Eccl.3: 7b
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