Thursday, June 27, 2013

Be Patient, Establish Your Hearts

After the decision of the Supreme Court this week to overturn California’s Prop 8 and to rule DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) as unconstitutional, there is a definite "sigh" among those who want and desire to see this country take a stand for truth and morality. This is one more step along the way of the homosexual agenda to completely destroy the very fabric of God's design for the home.

Where does this leave the Christian?  What are we supposed to do now?  While evil is in our midst, does this really change the action and purpose of the church?  Absolutely not!  While James reminds us “be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the patient; stablish your hearts...” (James 5:7-8), we are also reminded by Paul the purpose of the church. 

“So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Ephesians 3:10-12).

Our purpose is also set by the Lord’s desire to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10).  With these thoughts in mind, consider the following:

Orson F. Whitney wrote: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God...”[1]

Through our trials and tribulations, we are given opportunity to grow into the kind of people that God wants. The inspired writer, James, wrote: “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.”

Establish Your Hearts
The apostle Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica “to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:2).  They had been warned that they would be tempted, and Paul worried about them sending Timothy to help teach, encourage, and comfort them.  Verse 13 (ASV) reads: to the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”  To the church at Rome, Paul wrote: 

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen” (Romans 16:25-27).

Through patience and establishing our hearts toward God and His Word, it is then only logical that we would begin to spread that Word.  After Jesus had told Nicodemus about His purpose of seeking and saving the lost, he spoke the Parable of the Pounds (minas).

“As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’ ” (Luke 19:11-27, ESV).

This great parable reminds us of the necessity of each to diligently use both the opportunities and abilities that God has given to us.  We must so establish our hearts being committed to the Lord enough to teach His Word to those who are “lost” (Luke 19:10).  We are also reminded of the judgment to come.  We will all “appear before the judgment seat of Christ...” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

With so much going on around us in this world, it is important to stay focussed on Christ and the goal of heaven (Philippians 3:14).  Never give up!  Be faithful to the end!  Endure, Establish Your Heart, & Evangelize The Lost.

[2] picture source: