Excerpt adapted from Book # A13
Mat 6:31-33: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
One of the keys to not being anxious is having a patient faith.
Patience is a virtue which is inseparable from faith. Ponder this awhile. You cannot separate patience from faith, neither can you separate patience from salvation. Few people realize this. The Lord works the trial of our faith to work patience because patience is inseparable from salvation. Who are those who are saved but those who endure unto the end?
In HEB 6:11-12 we read, "And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end [Now see where patience has its place.]: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
The Lord is teaching us that through all our struggles and trials in temporal things, patience and faith work together to inherit the promises. If we are to inherit the promises, we must become patient in adversity. We must understand that patience is an act of faith. Try to separate the two. You tell me how you can be patient in an adversity without faith to believe that the adversity came from the hand of the Lord, and that you have surrendered to it.
I want you to see the trials of our faith Jesus tells us will come upon us. The Lord Jesus said in LUK 21:17-19, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. [Now see how He connects faith with patience.] In your patience possess ye your souls." Not even one hair on our head will perish when we are hated and persecuted. Perhaps we have never realized the importance of patience.
The Lord tries our faith to teach us patience. JAM 1:2-4 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." It is a blessing when trials of our faith work patience because without patience we will never inherit the kingdom. Do you see the necessity of patience?
That is a precious truth; see what the Lord Jesus is telling us when He compares the Gentiles and God's people. He is saying the Gentiles seek after all these temporal things, but we should not do that because our heavenly Father knows our needs. Our confidence, our trust, and our patience are centered in the assurance of faith that our heavenly Father knows what things we need.
It is through patience that we receive the promises. "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise," HEB 10:36.
How do we do the will of God? It is by enduring the trials. It is by walking through our trials by faith. Patience enables us to stand the trials of our faith and receive the promises.
It is those who endure who are pronounced as happy. How do you endure the trial of your faith? It is through patience. JAM 5:11 says, "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end [purpose] of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." He was pitiful and of tender mercy toward Job which was not revealed to Job until after he had endured the trial of his faith with patience.
The revelation of His love is a tremendous consolation. When we are having our patience and faith tried, after we have endured, we see the purpose of the Lord in the trial. At the time our patience is being tried, we do not see the purpose of the Lord; that comes after we have endured. That verse is precious.
To grow in the knowledge of the Lord we need to walk in patience and longsuffering in the way of the cross. We cannot grow in the knowledge of the Lord without patience. COL 1:10-11 explains, "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God [How?]; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness."
It is through patience that we walk pleasing to the Lord. He is trying our patience. Why does the Lord try our patience? Have you ever thought how we try the Lord's patience. Have you ever thought about how in our younger years, in the sins of our youth, in our shortcomings, we have provoked the Lord and tried His patience?
Now the Lord wants us to be conformed unto the image of Christ and reconciled back unto the Lord. He is going to give us to understand patience, especially to our fellow man who sins against us! Do you know why? It will teach us how patient the Lord has been with us. We must be able to forgive our fellow man regardless of what he has done to us because it is a small debt compared to the debt we have with the Lord. He has sent His Son to pay that debt, and He is going to show us that we need patience, being brought back into that Spirit of Christ.
COL 1:12-14 continues, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." When we are able to understand but a glimpse of what patience God has had with us, then we begin to learn to have patience with our fellow man. When we are able to forgive our fellow man, we will begin to understand what the Lord did for us "...In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins."
The Lord Jesus Christ is the author of our patience as well as our faith. No person has really understood what the Lord Jesus Christ did in the way of faith. He endured the cross and despised the shame as an act of faith, but now I want you to try to analyze His patience.
REV 1:9 says, "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, [It is a tremendous thing when we begin to understand what it is to live by the faith of Jesus Christ, but think what it is to say we are a brother and a companion of the Lord Jesus Christ in patience! John] was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
What does it mean that he was on the Isle of Patmos? He was in exile; he was put there to die. He was sent there, dumped off, and they expected him to perish, but John was a "brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." The Lord had brought John there for the testimony of Jesus Christ. It was on the Isle of Patmos that John wrote the Book of Revelation. We do not realize the importance of learning patience until long after the fact.
Faith in our heavenly Father's knowledge, "...that ye have need of all these things," works patience in the time of adversity, and the Gentiles are strangers to this. When Gentiles have adversities, they become frustrated, bitter, filled with anxiety; they have no hope, foundation, or place to go. They blame fate, coincidence, or their inadequacies for they do not see the Lord's hand in their lives.
We must learn to see that we need patience in adversity, but just as much so in prosperity. Prosperity led the wisest, i.e., King Solomon, away from the Lord, but "...the trying of your faith worketh patience," JAM 1:3. The trials under which we struggle are precious because it is through these trials that the Lord works patience. When a brother comes against us it could make us bitter or exercise our faith and work patience towards one who has transgressed against us. That is working the patience of Christ because Christ was patient with you and me; He paid the penalty of our sins. It is that patience that cannot be separated from faith.
Therefore Jesus says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you," MAT 6:33. The whole thrust of this verse that Jesus is teaching us is: get your priorities straightened out, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," MAT 6:21.
We must see where our treasure is, where our priorities are. Are we going to let our time, the superimposition of our time, be given to the things of this world? Do we crave, have an intensified demand, to acquire or search after the things of this earth? That is what the Gentiles have. They seek these things. The Lord Jesus gives us the admonition that our heavenly Father knows what we stand in need of. He knows what is good for us, He knows what He wants us to have. We must get our priorities straight, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Amen.