I want you to think of olympic athletes, eventing horses, brain surgeons, aircraft mechanics, NAVY SEALs, military working dogs, people and animals that are at the top of their profession. How do you think they got there?
God designed each of us with perfection in mind. Excellence. That includes you. But how do we get there?
Years ago, I was training a Horse to “give to pressure”. When you try to lead a young or untrained horse they pull and jerk and can be very dangerous. You may want to yell and hit him and force him to give to pressure. But when you do that with a horse they become even more belligerent. This colt was 1 and ½ yrs old. So he was very strong at this point. When I tied his chest to a pole, I watched him pull and rear up. Flipping and hurting himself. All his efforts were in vain. When I worked him in the round pen, he would try to flee. All he had to do was to take one step toward the post or one turn towards me and see that he was not tied tightly and that I wanted him to come to me. I had to stand and patiently wait for this colt to learn. Waiting. Hoping he would do the right thing. I had to have hupomone.
Patience in Greek is hupomone (Strongs 5281-Cheerful or hopeful endurance or constancy- enduring patient continuance, waiting). The word literally means to “stay under” something as in staying under the weight of something.
This word has almost contrasting characteristics. It indicates a state of waiting which at first notion seems to be a rather mundane, easy task. But it also indicates an active endurance which requires much fortitude. The word Esperar in Spanish means both “to wait” and “to hope”. When we think of patience we must realize that this is an active endeavor which has a purpose.
Consider the absence of patience. Impatience means that you cannot wait. You are ready to be out of your situation, whatever it may be, instantly! This is the way of the world. Give it to me now! Perhaps impatience also indicates a lack of hope.
Do you like being around impatient people? So, do you think people like being around you when you are impatient?
One way to look at this difference between patience and impatience: credit cards and investing.
Credit is a way to get money NOW! However, you will end up paying back more money than you borrowed in the first place over a longer period of time than is desirable.
Investing actually requires you to do WITHOUT money now in hopes of having more later.
This is how God tends to work. He wants to see you invest yourself in the joy of building His kingdom not destroy yourself by indulging in this world.
We will talk a bit later about what that means to build God’s kingdom…
Some of you are in foster care or some other living situation that is not what you desire. I know you feel that weight of your situation. See how the Greek word hupomone applies to you? You feel that you are staying under something. There are two ways to handle the situation:
1) Patience, hoping, waiting-behaving well, controlling yourself, learning more about your situation (Investing in other people, your relationship with God)
2) Impatience, hopelessness, not waiting-run away, fly off the handle at your foster parents/house parents (Swiping a credit card that may feel like it gets you what you want now but will make it harder on you later)
What about girls? You meet a hot chick and you fall hard for her. She is all you can think about. She wants to get hot and heavy very fast. You have two choices:
1) Patience, waiting- this girl might be crazy, I might get her pregnant, we don’t even know each other, I want to wait and honor her, myself, God and her family (Investing your time to learn who she is, don’t have sex and don’t get STDs/pregnant, honor her and God and family)
2) Impatience, not waiting- Get crazy hot with her, have sex, move in with her (Swiping that credit card to feel good in the moment but end up with emotional troubles, get STDs, pregnant, stuck in a situation you weren’t ready for. Dishonor abounds, making it hard on yourself, her and the kids later.)
So, why should we be patient? Because God is patient with us. How is God patient?
We have all chosen to sin against God. That sin separates us from a right standing with God. It means the world is broken, we are broken and our relationship with God is broken.
Our way VS. God’s way. We all chose OUR way! It is similar to being on Probation. Walk around like you are free. But you have a debt of guilt to pay. The problem is… we can’t pay it!
He told us in the very beginning of time that the payment for our sins is death (Genesis 2:16-17). God’s Rule, not mine! God is a just and fair God. He will not let the guilty go free or the innocent be condemned (Proverbs 17:15). And if we die while we are guilty, we go to a place of everlasting torment called Hell (Revelation 20:10 & 15).
But I have Good News friends! God loves us and He does not want us to go to Hell. He is like the judge that delivers a GUILTY sentence to the criminal then gets down from the bench and pays the fine for the criminal.
That criminal is you. It is me! Who here has never sinned? It is all of US!
How does He pay this debt? After all, God said the payment for sin is death! Does He follow His own rule? Yes.
God paid our debt by coming to earth in the form of Jesus Christ and giving His own life on a wooden cross. Then after three days in the grave, He rose again and was seen by hundreds of people.
He paid the debt with his own life!!! That is the kind of God I serve!
All we have to do is believe that this happened. If you truly believe this you will spend the rest of this life building His kingdom (from earlier) by sharing this great news with others and living free from the chains of sin. AND as a sweet bonus we will spend eternity in heaven with Him instead of in Hell apart from Him.
You would think that after learning this everyone would say “Thank you! Thank you, Lord, for loving us so much!” But most people haven’t. Most people reject God even though He died for us. They get distracted by the shiny things of this life and would rather swipe a credit card that they can never pay back instead of investing in an eternal Kingdom.
Can you imagine the sorrow that brings God? What if you had given your son’s life for someone else’s sin and they said “No thanks, I’d rather just die myself and pay for my own sins”?
So you see, God has been very patient with us. But the Bible says there is a time of judgment coming.
If you have given your life to Jesus then this coming judgement is GREAT news b/c your sins are paid for and you will be judged as innocent!!! However, if you haven’t then that is terrible news b/c you will have to pay for your own sins.
All we have to do is repent of (turn away from) our sins and accept His gift of love and trust our lives to Him as our Lord and Savior. Sadly, most people will never do this. They would rather go on living their own way, like that colt pulling on the rope, instead of taking one step toward God’s way.
Are you that colt? God has plans to train you to be a powerful eventing horse!
God loves you. He is patient and does not destroy us all for our sins immediately. He would be justified if He did. But He is giving you time to make the decision that will change 2 things:
-How you live your life here on earth (like we talked about earlier). Will you allow God to train you to be everything He designed you to be? To excel spiritually like the olympic athletes, eventing horses, brain surgeons, aircraft mechanics, NAVY SEALs and military working dogs excel in their field?
-and, where you spend eternity.
But we never know how much time we have. Do not take advantage of God’s hupomone. He will only hold back His judgement so long. He loves you so much and desires for you to choose the right way! His way!
I tell you as Paul did in 2nd Corinthians, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
Questions? Talk to one of us here at Three Circles (Jeremy, Alan, Richie, Ashley and others). We are here to connect, hear your story and build you up.