This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at http://www.dtbm.org/
As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you meditate on the beauty of Jesus!
MONDAY: Jesus Christ Is Patient
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.
—Revelation 15:1, emphasis added
Learning how to slow down the pace of your life to establish God’s priorities instead of your own is what patience is all about. Revelation 15 is a wonderful portion of God’s Word to teach us about the patience we can have in Christ.
If you recall, the sixth seal commenced the Day of the Lord: “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17). If you know anything about the Bible, you know that the Lord is dragging the final judgment out for as long as He can because of His patience and mercy. He has been withholding the final blow when He will melt all His enemies: … The Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths (Zechariah 14:12).
God’s patience goes way back, for Jesus has been patient for a very long time. Look at Jude 14-15: Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, [for] … their ungodly deeds … against Him.” The Lord has been waiting since the time of Enoch to execute His judgment, but His patience will come to an end in Revelation 15:8.
Do you have genuine patience? Patience is the absence of personal irritation at the actions of others. Amazingly, Jesus never evidences personal irritations at ignominy and wickedness during the Tribulation hour. Instead, He patiently waits while sending wave after wave of witnesses and wave after wave of good news to the earth.
Patience is the “bearing long” with people that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 13. Patience is also one of the supreme attributes of God. Revelation 15:1 is so critical because it talks about how Jesus is waiting. He is waiting with the plagues, and His wrath is going to be complete. But He has waited since Enoch, since Noah, since He came and walked this earth and was rejected; He has waited through all of the trumpets and the seals, and now He is waiting before He pours out those bowls—the final outflow of His wrath.
It is Christ’s character to be gracious and longsuffering, and we should try to be like Him. Since Jesus can wait through all these terrible responses of humanity and keep pouring out His mercy on the earth, we ought to work on being patient in our own lives.
The supreme characteristic of God is His patience: “… The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth ….” (Exodus 34:6). Although God is patient, He does not forget unless we come and plead beneath the shadow of the blood of Christ: “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty ….” (Numbers 14:18).
Remember: through the pleadings of Abraham, God withheld the destruction of Sodom until a few people were rescued; God withheld the death angel’s hand when David sacrificed and stopped the plague of God; and when Moses and Aaron interceded, and ran out with the censers, it stopped the plague that was going through Israel. God is so patient that He withholds His wrath in response.
God is patient, so He gives patience: Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus …. (Romans 15:5). To get along with fellow Christians pray: “God of patience and comfort, make me patient! I need Your comfort so that I will not respond adversely to frustrating situations.” Do you know how powerful a church is when its members are patient with one another? One of the great marks of maturity is patience.
Throughout the Tribulation, Jesus Christ patiently offers His salvation: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, … but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Ask yourself: Am I more patient than I was three months ago, or less? Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Are you letting the Holy Spirit bear that fruit in your life? Or are you spraying the fruit killer of impatience on it? If we are not increasing in patience, it is because we are not yielding and submitting to the Holy Spirit.
William Barclay has this to say about the meaning of patience, as used in 2 Peter 1:6: “The word never means the spirit which sits with folded hands and simply bears things. It is victorious endurance, masculine constancy under trial. It is Christian steadfastness, the brave and courageous acceptance of everything life can do to us, and the transmuting of even the worst into another step on the upward way. It is the courageous and triumphant ability to bear things, which enables a man to pass the breaking point and not to break, and always to greet the unseen with a cheer.”2
Patience is a learned art, and sometimes we need to learn a lot in certain situations. We have to learn to allow the Spirit of God to bring this forth in our lives. The opposite of patience can be seen in the signs of anger: irritability, impatience, glaring eyes, raised voice, hurtful words, explosive actions, silent treatment, argumentative words, clenched teeth, and heavy breathing. This is not what God wants in us.
How can you stop impatient anger? Note these steps to resolving anger:
· Accept responsibility for anger and its symptoms.
· See your anger through the eyes of others.
· View anger as an alarm for unresolved guilt.
· Act quickly to resolve past guilt, offenses, failures, and bless the one making you impatient.
· Acknowledge the anger of forefathers.
· Regain the ground of past anger.
· Fully forgive the offender.
· Learn to see the benefits in tragedy.
· Exchange all personal rights to God.
· Establish daily accountability.
A word of caution: fueling your anger overnight gives place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27). The tormentors are the destructive emotions of fear, guilt, depression, anger, and anxiety. The way out is to confess specific sins (1 John 1:9); claim the blood of Christ (Revelation 12:11; Colossians 2:14-15); and ask God to restore the place surrendered to Satan. God promises that you can tear down Satan’s strongholds with His truth (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
The patience of Jesus is amazing—He waits so long. If it were up to us, we might have resorted to dealing with the world’s rebellion with a few H-bombs! But Jesus just waits on the prayers of the saints, and then He waits still further for more prayers of the saints. Next, He allows the devil to start a shuttle service to heaven by killing so many people in the Tribulation that the martyrs will pile up in heaven. But that is really the beauty of this chapter as Jesus continues to shows us His patience.
The lesson: We should act quickly to resolve our impatience and be wrapped in the beauty of Jesus!
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