Galatians 5: 22-23 ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law’
Berean Study Bible

Words are thought containers.  They are designed to bundle up a bunch of useless letters (individually), put them together and send them as a thought (idea) to a recipient.  Lets look at the word patient.

The thought behind the word ‘patience’ means that the possessor is patient.  The idea is that a patient person isn’t going any where.  A patient person isn’t angry or flighty.  A patient person endures. The Holy Spirit of God Himself exemplifies the ‘thought container’s’ word patience.

I was working with a friend who knows accounting, trying to get my stimulus check.  She said facetiously that my next newsletter should be about patience.  I don’t think she meant it as a compliment.  Anyway, here it us.  Actually when it’s just me, I am a lot more patient than I appear.  I’d be perfectly content just hanging out under a mango tree, reading the Bible, without a care in the world. I wouldn’t have even thought about something as carnal as a stimulus check. However, God has entrusted us with hundreds of families who depend on God, who uses Winnie and me, to our great pleasure. That usually involves unspiritual things such as money though. You would be amazed how much real financial needs/emergencies 200 poor families can come up with, but it’s a blessing to be able to help them.  We count it all joy, but the responsibilities are crushing at times.  So yes, I need more patience.  Winnie doesn’t but I do.

Patience means endurance, (literally speaking,  in-hardness).  A better meaning for the ‘thought container’ for the idea of patience is ‘handling things in the hardness of life and still being able to carrying on’.   Better put, ‘don’t quit!’.

The biggest hinderance to patience is the hardness of the heart.  This comes in all forms. Pride, hate, selfishness, bitterness, anger, stubbornness, bad feelings disappointments and many other sins are a result of a hard heart, killing your patience and endurance.  If we give in to our hearts, (the popular phrase is ‘follow our hearts’) most of the time we would quit.  Follow the patience of the Holy Spirit, not your heart.  The heart is a liar.  

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

To study a word, I like to study the opposite of that word as well.  In doing so, something stood out. The real message today is the opposite of patience. The opposite of patience (endurance) is the induration, or the hardening of the heart.  Endurance and endurance sound the same but are polar opposites. Endurance means to follow through in tough times.  Endurance is hardening.  People with hard hearts are quitters. I should call this message ‘harden not your heart’, but it’s too many words, plus my accounting friend wouldn’t have had the pleasure of seeing me eat crow calling this newsletter ‘patience’.

The world wants us to harden our hearts. Pharaoh is the poster boy for hard hearts.   Officers bark the order ‘HARDEN YOUR HEARTS!’  as they prepare us for combat. Rock stars sing over and over again on the radio ‘harden your heart’.  Even counselors speak this mantra to heartbroken people. Everyone in the world wants us to have hard hearts, except the Lord.  Don’t listen to the world, listen to God.

Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

A hard life turns a weak person into a hard person.  People loose their patience and harden their hearts when trouble comes.  It’s a coping mechanism for a spiritual weakling. It seems like the easy way, but the easy way is always the hard way. 

People get hammered by life, people and circumstances. Satan whispers ‘resist’!  God says ‘surrender’. Satan, uses our pride to tell us to  ‘be stubborn’. God uses love to teach us to be teachable.  Satan says ‘strain against the yoke’, Jesus says in Matthew 11:29 ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’

God’s ways are easy.  It is easy to be patient and to persevere (the two go hand in hand.). First rule in self preservation is to relax.  That is much easier when you are patient.  Impatience combined with tense muscles that it causes, can hurt and even kill you.  It takes a lot of effort to be impatient and unforgiving. To hold a grudge and to be stubborn isn’t a good testimony, and worst yet, it damages you and everyone around you.   It’s hard work!  Patience is ‘easy like Sunday morning’.

Satan is a slave driver.  God is pleasant, so submit to Him and relax!  Be patient and persevere.  The patient people have soft hearts. They last, while impatient people with hard hearts don’t.  Be patient in God and you’ll receive the crown of eternal life.  When you harden your heart, every muscle stiffens, including your neck.  A stiff necked person is someone hard hearted, refusing to accept Jesus’ easy yoke.  Hard necks are broken.  Sober people die in car accidents because they stiffen up when they are about to crash and their necks break.  A drunk doesn’t see the accident coming, so they don’t stiffen up and sometimes survive.

We need to be flexible.  To do that, soften your heart and your neck will loosen up.  When I am tense, angry, the first place I feel it is in my neck.  God uses people to steer you along the way.  Being corrected 10 times a day by God’s Holy Spirit, through other people, prayers and His Word, is great!  If you resist correction, you will slowly harden your heart and you neck gets stiff in the process.  If you continue reject correction, your heart will be hardened permanently, and that is the only thing that God says there is no cure for. 

Proverbs 29:1
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Seek God today.  Seek Godly counsel, Godly friends, pray and read the Bible.  Endure don’t indurate. Be patient, not hard hearted.   You can train yourself to automatically yield to God (resisting Satan) or to automatically resist Him (yielding to Satan).  If you practice yielding to God, your heart will get softer and softer.  After a while you’ll be yielding to God (and listening to the counsel of people who want to help you) without ever thinking of it.  Like wise you can get to the point of resisting God without even thinking about it.  Resisting comes out of the same ‘hard heart thought container’ as arguing, rebelling, resenting, contradiction, and contention. You can practice resisting God, (and the people that genuinely want to help you) to the point of not even thinking about it. Your heart will get more bitter and harder, to the point of no return, like Pharaoh.

Dean and Winnie Peters
[email protected]

Joyfully serving the ‘least of these’ in Nicaragua for the glory of God

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Dean and Winnie Peters
[email protected]

Joyfully serving the ‘least of these’ in Nicaragua for the glory of God

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