|BUT the Lord direct your hearts into the Love of God and into the Patience of Christ
| (2 Thess. iii:5). With these words Paul exhorted the Thessalonian believers. They had many trials and difficulties. They suffered persecutions and were troubled. False alarms had affected their patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. The inspired exhortation puts before their hearts the Patience of Christ. Comfort and joy, encouragement and peace, would surely come to their hearts and strengthen them, if they remembered and entered into the Patience of Christ.
And who can describe or speak fully and worthily of the Patience of our blessed Lord! It includes so much. All His moral Glory and Divine perfections are concealed and revealed in this Word. The word patience has a wide meaning. It means more than we generally express by it. Submission, endurance in meekness, waiting in faith, quietness, contentment, composure, forebearance, suffering in calmness, calmness in suffering; all and more is contained in the one word, Patience. And such patience in all its fulness and perfection the Son of God exhibited in His earthly life. Whenever we look in the Gospels, we behold this calm, quiet, restful patience. His whole life here on earth is but a continued record of patience. In patience His childhood was spent, and when in His twelfth year the Glory of His Deity flashed forth we read |He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.| In patience, He whose mighty power had called the universe in existence, toiled on, content in Nazareth, submissive to the Father, till after many years the day would come, when the work He had come to do should be begun and finished. To describe that Patience during His public ministry from Nazareth, where He had been brought up, to Golgotha, would necessitate a close scrutiny of every step of the way, every act and every utterance which came from His holy lips. What discoveries of His Grace and moral Glory we make, if under the guidance of His Spirit we meditate on His life here below. Humility and submission under God, patient waiting on Him, utter absence of all haste, perfect calmness of soul and every other characteristic of perfect patience, we can trace constantly in that wonderful life. What patience is revealed in the forty days in the wilderness, when He hungered and was with the wild beasts (Mark i:13). When Satan tempted Him and asked for stones to be made bread, He exhibited still His patience. In His service, that marvellous service rendered by the perfect servant, no ambitiousness or ostentatiousness can ever be discovered. He pleased not Himself but Him who sent Him. He was constantly going about doing the Father's will. His kindness and love were rewarded by rejection and insults, yet no complaint or murmur ever came from His lips. He was always trusting in God, perfectly calm, perfectly satisfied.
And how His patience shines out in dealing with men. What patience He had with His disciples and how He bore with them in love. They were slow learners. What patience and tenderness in his conversation with her, whom He had sought, the woman at Samaria's well. And greatest above all His patience in suffering. He endured the cross. When He was reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. (1 Pet. ii:23). He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. All the buffetings, shame, dishonors, griefs, pains and sorrows He patiently endured. Oh! the patience of Christ, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame!
And into this patience of Christ our hearts are to be directed. It is to be the object of our contemplation and to be followed by us, who belong to Him. The patience of Christ must be manifested in our lives. For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps. His humility, submissiveness, contentment, calmness, patience in endurance, in doing and suffering the will of God, must be reproduced in our lives. But how little we know of it in reality. Impatience is the leading characteristic of the closing days of this present evil age. It is alas! but too prominently seen among God's people who are influenced by the present day currents. How little true waiting on the Lord and for the Lord is practiced! How much reaching out after the things which are but for a moment and which will soon perish! In consequence there is but little enjoyment of that which is the glorious and eternal portion of the Saints of God. How great the haste and hurry of present day life! How little quietness and contentment! In suffering and loss, murmurings, fault-finding and words of forced resignation are more frequently heard than joyful songs of praise. Unrest instead of rest, discontent instead of contentment, anxiety instead of simple trust, self exaltation instead of self abnegation, ambitiousness instead of lowliness of mind are found on all sides among those who name the name of Christ and who carry His Life in their hearts. And why? Your heart, dear reader, is so often out of touch with Christ. You lose sight of Him. His Spirit is grieved and in consequence there is failure and the impatience of the flesh. Return, oh my soul, unto thy rest! Direct, O Lord, our hearts into the Patience of Christ.
The Patience of Christ. He is still the patient Christ. Rejected by the world He has taken His place upon the Father's throne. There He waits until His enemies are made His footstool. Long ago, in our human reckoning, He entered there. Long ago the Father said to Him, |Ask of Me and I will give Thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for Thy possession| (Ps. ii:8). Up to now He has not yet asked the Father. When He asks it will mean judgment for this world. In infinite patience He has waited and waited in the presence of God. And all this time He has carried on His work as the Priest and Advocate of His people who live on earth. With what tenderness and patience He has dealt with all who lived in the past centuries. His mighty power kept them and now they are at home with Him. The same patience He manifests towards us. How often we have failed Him and walked in the flesh instead of walking in the Spirit. We came to Him and confessed and then we found Him so loving towards us. But ere long we failed again and in His loving patience His arms were again around us. And thus a hundred times. He changeth not. He is the same loving, patient Lord towards His own in Glory as He was on earth. |He shall not be discouraged,| the prophet declared. Even so His Patience knows no discouragement.
In all the dishonor done to His holy, worthy Name, He endures patiently. He is silent to all what is done by His enemies. The Patience of Christ. May the Lord grant us His Patience. John said to himself, |I am your brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ| (Rev. i:9). To that kingdom and Patience of Jesus Christ of which John speaks of belonging we belong. The martyrs belonged to it. Afflictions, persecutions and sufferings were their part. They are ours. In humility, in endurance, unflinching courage, in the patience of Christ, let us suffer with Him, share His reproach until His Glory is revealed.