Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Strained



by King Julius Kwedhi

“Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually.” Romans 12:12 (GW)

The idea of patience is likened to that of an elastic band. You can take an elastic band and stretch it so hard till it reaches the point where it stretches no longer. That point is called “the elastic limit.” The elasticity of the band allows it to stretch and to return again to its original form and shape when released from the stretch. However, when it is stretched till it reaches its elastic limit it does not continue stretching any further.

If the force applied equals to or is less than the force that the band can put up with (although the band might not return to its original form and shape again), the band will not break. But if after reaching this point the stretching still continues, and the force applied in stretching is far greater than the force that the band can put up with, when it reaches its limit, the band “snaps” and then breaks apart.

How does this relate to patience, and therefore applying to the Christian? Our scripture here tells us to “rejoice and exult in hope, be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer” (AMP).
Life, as it is, is not a smooth ride. And the Christian life in particular, as Christ our Lord has demonstrated it for us, is not a smooth ride either. Jesus told us that being a Christian believer is walking on the narrow road. A narrow path. And in this life we “must” face and overcome testing, stretching, mocking, temptations, trials, tribulation, suffering and such likes, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Patience implies humility. It is staying willingly under pressure or such conditions for a given period of time. And for us to overcome all these hard and often difficult phases we need “patience”. Patience is a fruit that the Holy Spirit of our Lord Jesus works and produces in us, His Christian children.

The word patience or patient, in the Bible, is translated from the Greek word hupomenō (reads – hoop-om-en'-o) (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Definitions, 1890) which is a conjunction of two words:

hupoA primary preposition; under, that is, (with the genitive) of place (beneath), or with verbs (the agency or means, through); (with the accusative) of place (whither [underneath] or where [below]) or time (when [at]): - among, by, from, in, of, under, with. In compounds it retains the same genitive applications, especially of inferior position or condition, and specifically covertly or moderately.
menō A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): - abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), X thine own.
Put together, these words would then form hupomenō which means to stay, continue and endure under pressure for a given amount of time.

Like the elastic band, the Born Again believer will be stretched to the point where he/she will feel like he/she cannot go on any longer. The point where being nice and kind will be a very difficult thing to do on his/her own self. A place where the Christian will feel neglected and feeling like giving up on life, on God, on himself and on others. A place where the Christian will be tempted to yield to the flesh because the way of the flesh will seem (at that point in time) a whole lot easier to take than the way of the Spirit of God.

But that point of elastic limit is also a place of a crossover. Once you overcome it you will move onto the next higher dimension in your spiritual life where you will forever be grateful for going through the stretch and for overcoming and remaining victorious. That place is a blessing in disguise. A blessing that comes right after the offense has passed. But you must overcome!

So, the trials will come. Indeed they must come. It is also the place where you learn to appreciate and apply faith in your Christian life and practice the worlds “don’t give up!”

A majority of us would consider ourselves very patient people, don’t we? There, however, is a time of testing for each one of us. To test our claims. Every word that we have uttered will be proven to either be true or false. Genuine or fake. We will be tested to answer the question, “How much and how far can you really endure and overcome?” To answer the question, “What is your point of elastic limit?” And, “What is your breaking point?”

First of all we must establish already that our flesh cannot stand and will not remain standing. We do not have such power to keep ourselves standing. The flesh will therefore break and fall apart and give in to temptation when you reach that point of “elastic limit,” because the flesh won’t hold only any longer, and giving up seems the best option, when it is really not. We need the grace of God to strengthen us, to keep us standing, and to keep us from “breaking” apart and falling into sinful temptations.

For the Christian, that grace is holistically available. We have received the new birth of the Spirit of Jesus, and the in-filling of the same. The Holy Spirit of God enables us to stand beyond our natural points of limitations and breaking. Indeed He is already actively doing that in the lives of billions of His children around the world, even right now. We always need Holy Spirit to make us “patient in suffering and tribulation.” He is the only One we have and the only One we will ever need to make us such.

Further Scripture Reading:

1 Peter 2:20-21 ESV  For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.  (21)  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1 Peter 4:12 ESV  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

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