Q & A
I’ve been asking God for patience. Recently, a situation came up that really irritated me and afterwards I realized I was anything but patient. Why didn’t God give me patience?
The problem is that you have an illusory idea that what you need is to become something better, i.e. more patient, rather than to recognize that if you are a Christian, you already contain the One who is patience. That One is Jesus Christ. We know this from 1 John 4:8, “…God is love” and 1 Cor. 13:4, which explains that “love is patient, love is kind.”
We see then that God does not parcel out attributes of His nature. He simply gives us Himself and through salvation we receive Jesus Christ who is patience. This transfers our attention from improving ourselves to seeing ourselves as just the vessel. 2 Cor. 4:7 says, “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show us that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” We are the means by which He can be Himself in a human vessel. The critical part is to realize that though we one are powerless to be patient, Christ’s Spirit, who is all powerful, is the patience within us. Our only job is to agree with that fact and accept its reality.
How can I really know that I am Christ in my form?
You may well ask yourself how you know your sins are forgiven, or how you know if you are saved, or how you know if you are born again. The answer is basically the same for all these questions. You begin by choosing to believe what God says is true. Instead of looking at your circumstances or how you feel, you look at God’s word. If you have fulfilled the biblical requirements for salvation confessed Jesus as the Son of God and your Savior, admitted you deserved death for your sins, was broken and sorry about your sins, repented and asked God to forgive you because the blood of his Son, Jesus, was shed to pay the price for your sins–then God’s Word says you are a new creation, a child of God, and have eternal life.
Romans 8:16 says, “the Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” So it is God Himself who makes our new nature real to us. And what is that new nature? Gal. 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” What we see in this verse is that the old me (joined to Satan) is dead, and the new me is Christ living as me. Because this is what God’s Word says about me, I know it is true even if it is at first hard to grasp. Shall I trust my own limited understanding and call God a liar? Or shall I trust God who made everything and knows everything from the beginning to the end?
1 John 4:17 says, “…as He is, so are we in this world.” That is the truth. And as I dare to believe God, I will begin to live as if what He has done in me is true. My choices will reflect what I believe. The way I feel and think matters little; what matters is choosing to do the next thing God asks of me. As we take God at His word, He takes us, and He is able to do through us what we were never able to do before. With all of us, there are times of honest questioning when God is challenging us to grow in a new area of understanding. But when we use doubt as a reason not to believe, the reality of who we are begins to dim because we are giving room for sin. So we move on boldly in faith.
But after we’ve made our stand of faith (based on the Scriptures) that we are Christ in our form, we take our hands off. The Spirit will confirm in us the fact of who we are, but He will do it in His time. Our job is simply to walk in the believing of the fact. As Norman writes in Yes, I Am, “So what you do is to keep firmly affirming that you are what you have now said you are by faith. Your job is to maintain the affirmation. The confirmation comes from Him, and any trying or searching of your own will only insert a fog of unbelief which hinders the Spirit from giving the confirmation” (p.110).