Apr 19, 2017
Success starts with a dream. It grows by believing in the dream. It humbly proceeds by patience and hard work.
But patience is the longest word I know.
My earliest experience with the word is negative. It involved waiting, waiting and...more waiting. As an adult, when the Holy Spirit instructs me through James 1:4-8 to "let patience have her perfect work," I inwardly cringe, the memory of the word washing over me.
But a biblical definition of patience does not mean to tolerate a delay just for the saintly sake of tolerating. It includes the idea of cheerful expectation and the word constancy (hupomonē). This is the clue to what the work of patience is. The last half of the verse above states, "...that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." It implies that the work of patience results in receiving. But the receiving comes through testing out your faith: "knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience." James 1:3 If you are going to try your faith by believing for something, then expectancy and constancy must go to work.
Constancy means the freedom from change or variation; stability; the quality of having a resolute mind; the quality of being unchanging or unwavering. It carries the idea of remaining in one place, steadfast.
Remaining is a lesson in disciplined focus. Circumstances, a fixture in our physical existence and largely under the control of others, can provide hurdles, setbacks or roadblocks to our success.
Joseph was a man plagued by setbacks. After testing out his belief in his dream on his family, he was sold into slavery by his brothers, rose to the position of trusted servant only to fall by being imprisoned, and finally rose from prisoner to second in command over all Egypt. Talk about a rollercoaster of high and lows. But Joseph knew the art of remaining.
Maybe your struggle is not a series of setbacks but more like an epic battle. When Joshua led his people to the Promised Land, victory and blessing was not what immediately greeted them. The land was seething with enemies who were not about to move over and make room for their homecoming or their strange God. Joshua and his people had to fix their gaze on something else and calmly enact the discipline of remaining steadfast while edging toward their goal.
But what did they focus on and how did Joseph, Joshua and the Hebrew people "remain?"
Joseph focused on the dream God gave him. Joshua and the Hebrews focused on the words God had spoken to them. They believed and would not surrender their confidence in what God had revealed. They remained in one place, the place of trust. They were constant and unwavering in their belief that the words were true and the Giver of their dreams faithful to do what He promised. They thought about the promise, spoke it out loud and refused to throw it away.
These steps are the secret to success. This kind of focus works whether you are a Christian or not. It is a principle of our created world. But— lasting success, void of unrest, is only found in Jesus.
Whatever your setbacks, whatever your struggle, be encouraged that success can be gained. Spend the time to allow God to speak to you as you read the Bible and hold on to what He tells you. Paul said it this way, "Then do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of patience, that having done the will of God you may obtain the promise." Hebrews 10:35-36 LITV
Jesus said it like this, "If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, whatever you desire you will ask, and it shall happen to you." John 15:7 LITV
What dreams and goals are you hoping to achieve? How has staying focused on God's word helped you?
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Image by William Stitt courtesy of SockSnapi.o
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