My Broken Road to Grace: Post Fourteen (Are You Joyful, Faithful and Patient?)
Today I want to look at three words as they relate to the Christian Life. Joyful, Faithful and Patient. We hear these words or some derivative thereof often in everyday conversation and yet as I hadn't until today, we might not stop long enough to consider them and the part they play in our day to day function as a Christian.
First Joyful, the definition of which is "Feeling, expressing or causing great happiness" Do you feel happy to be a Christian, a living, breathing servant of God as a follower of Jesus Christ? If not then you are somehow missing the mark and it may be time to get introspective, take a look at that which is serving to impede your joy and pray asking God to help you in dealing with that. After all, God not only wants but expects us to be happy or joyful in our faith. Contrary to the beliefs of some, it was never His intention for us to live a sad and somber life as a result of our salvation. In fact, there is much to be joyful about. Start to today by asking God to manifest the "Joy" of Christianity in you.
Secondly, we look at the word Faithful, the dictionary defines Faithful as "Loyal, constant and steadfast" Are you all of those in your faith? Not just in your eternal salvation, a hope that we all should share, looking happily forward when we will spend eternity in paradise with God and His son Jesus Christ, but equally faithful in hoping and expecting the things that you will experience and witness daily as a result of your faith. I heard it said recently by a naysayer that the "season of miracles" is over and has been for 2000 years. To that I respond, "hogwash" what a foolish and presumptuous statement. How can any of us as a human being, Christian or not, assume that we are qualified to classify one thing or another as a miracle. Or worse yet to proclaim them as dead. To me that is treading into dangerous territory.
Maybe the miracles of today tend to manifest themselves differently than they might have in years before but make no mistake, the author and designer of miracles is as alive, well and active in 2014 as He ever was throughout history. Daily, people are cured of some wasting disease, an addict walks away from their addiction and a lost soul is reclaimed for the kingdom after years of rough living and thousands of prayers by those who cared. If you have lost your eager anticipation of things to come as God works daily in your life, then perhaps it is time for you to ask God for a restoration of your loyalty and consistency in an effort to every day, once again anxiously await what He will do next in your life or the lives of others around you.
Our third and final word is Patient. Patience is defined as "The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset." How are you doing in the area of patience? Our society today does little to contribute to the promotion of the practice or virtue as I have so often heard it referred to. We live in a hurry up world, most of us with what I like to call a "Microwave" mentality that permeates our thinking, causing us to want anything and everything in our lives right now, today. Immediate gratification has become the norm and there is little credence afforded the concept that "Good things come to those who wait" and yet patience is one of the basic precepts of the Christian existence.
If you are wrestling with the need for patience? If you struggle with wanting everything right now then it is more than likely time to take that situation to the Lord and begin to pray for patience. It is highly recommended that you refrain from a prayer like that of a teenage girl I once knew who prayed saying "Lord please give me patience but could you give it to me right now?" That sort of defeats the purpose doesn't it? The right attitude in search for patience is essential. Again, we should pray asking God earnestly to provide the patience we so desperately need and then sit and wait on the Lord to fulfill that request.I read somewhere once that patience can be self perpetuating, meaning the longer we wait patiently the more we are able to. I have little doubt that it worked that way with God and that He in seeing our willingness to let go of self and just wait will reward that effort by making it easier for us to do so.
Perhaps these three words are already an active part of your Christian life. Perhaps you do well with some and not so well with others. In either case it is a lofty goal as a Christian to aspire to master each of them and put them to work as part of our everyday existence . Romans 12:12 says: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Work and pray today asking God to give you an extra measure of these gifts, it will make your walk with Him Happier and more consistent and fulfilling.
God doesn't ask of us that which we cannot do but He does often expect us to have to stretch a little to get there. It is doing so that we grow and mature as Christians and isn't that what it is all about? The overall plan was never to accept Christ realize that we were saved and then rest on our laurels doing nothing and waiting for His return. It pleases God when we don't mind, in fact prefer, working in furtherance of the kingdom. I believe there is an extra measure of blessing for those of us who do. Work today and be Joyful, Faithful and Patient in doing so. You will be glad you did.