The Drawback To Shallow Patience
Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
Doing a quick search online on having patience with God, the first four articles I opened were all similar in tone; encouragement on waiting for God to answer individual prayers. And how we build character and perseverance when we wait for God to answer our prayers. Our family attended a church for a while and every single sermon was inspiration on reaching our goals – while waiting on God. As I type this I cannot help but realize how shallow we are in our Christian walk. Wait on God for what He will do for me! I wonder how many of us ever consider that when God tells us to be patient He is specifically talking about our Christian walk, and not on things we are asking for of Him.
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
God is not looking for us to have passive endurance, rather be brave and determined in spite of the trials and setbacks we endure. Have you ever come across a Christian who stopped going to church, praying or studying their Bible? Do you encourage them to have patience in their walk and to keep going? Most of us are too busy wondering when God will answer prayers for our needs that we don’t have time to worry about why someone stopped going to church. Have you ever had a setback (I’m sure you have) and what do you do? Do you get down on yourself? Or do you know God is right there lifting your head up telling you not to give up and to stand strong in your Christian walk.
You see when we have Christian “leaders” who stand in front of us with the same message to never give up on our personal prayers for our dreams to come true, we get discouraged. I know I do. That’s because God very seldom answers my shallow prayers. When my shallow prayer are not answered I get down on myself. I look at that “leader” in front of me and wonder why God seems to be answering their prayers. I pout like a baby all while ignoring other Christians with serious issues in their walk.
We had a family friend who struggled deeply with illegal drugs. This person was a Christian. They served at church. Yet they could not shake this issue. Luckily this person was surrounded by other Christians who would continually encourage them to seek help. I heard a sermon about a man on heroin. This man so desperately wanted to stop taking heroin that he handcuffed himself to a radiator alone in a room. However, the drug was more powerful than himself. He managed to rip the radiator out of the floor to get to the drug. Why was he in a room alone? Where were his Christian friends to help? Handcuffing himself to a radiator was an obvious plea for help.
Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens. and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
As Christians we are all on the starting box together – yet we all begin to travel a different road. Some of us are chasing our dreams, trying to make more money, buy a bigger house, climb the corporate ladder, earn another degree, gain a million followers, all in the name of Jesus. At the same time there are many Christians lost in the middle of the road struggling deeply in their faith and need help. They need to know that God still loves them when they fall to ground in their sin. They need to know that Satan is real and he will do everything to make them turn away from their faith once and for all. A mature Christian who knows all too well the patience needed in this Christian walk will find their way to those who are struggling and will encourage them to not give up.
Romans 5:4 “And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
In this verse alone, Paul is telling early Christians to stand strong in their Christian faith. Persecution was the norm during this time. Christians were not laced across magazine covers. They did not have speaking engagements. They weren’t living in mansions or flying around in helicopters for the “gospel”. They were martyred. Paul was encouraging them to not give up. Patience in our walk will build the right character. Oh how we diminish the greatness of God when we seek only what He can do for us. We miss out on the real joy of being a Christian. We miss out on the real joy of fellowship. We miss out on the real joy of helping another Christian get back on track. We will never grow as a Christian by only seeking trivial things from God. We will never grow as a Christian by wishing or by emotion. We will only grow as a Christian when we endure the rigid, self-controlled fight with patience! We will only grow as a Christian when we allow patience to have its perfect work inside of us, pushing toward Him who is our author and finisher of patience – and our faith.