Berean Studies / Ber05 - Patience
(Use your Browser's "Find" or "Search" option to search within this page)
Single Click a triangle below to see the references CT Russell selected for the associated question. The study questions (with the references) are also included as an attached Adobe PDF file at the bottom of this page.
1. What is the importance of Patience as an element of Christian character?
2. What is the common significance of this word?
3. What is the deeper significance of this word as used in Scripture, especially in Rev 3:10 and Luke 8:15?
4. Why is ‘patient-endurance’ so necessary?
R2791 c2 p1,2
THE NECESSITY FOR PATIENT ENDURANCE.
Here the question properly arises, Why is this so? In what sense is such endurance necessary? We answer that it is one of the conditions which God has attached to the call to joint-heirship in the Kingdom, and the wisdom of this is manifest when we consider the work to which we are called--the work of blessing all the families of the earth, as God's Millennial Kingdom, under and in joint-heirship with our Lord. That will be a great work, and it is eminently proper that the Lord should demand that those whom he would account worthy of it shall not only appreciate his goodness and his character, and prefer these to sin and iniquity, but that they should demonstrate their thorough loyalty to these principles to the extent of a joyful willingness to suffer on behalf of right, to endure patiently. A transitory endurance of one or two or three brief trials would not prove the person to have established character for righteousness; but a patient, cheerful endurance even unto death, would prove and demonstrate such a character.
We might illustrate this with the diamond. Suppose that we were able to make diamonds out of some plastic material, so that they would have the full diamond measure of brilliancy; and suppose that they became hard, but not so intensely hard as the diamond, would they have the value of the diamond? By no means. And so with the Christian; if we should suppose him possessed of every grace of character that could possibly belong to the sons of God except this one of firmness, of endurance, he would not be fit to be numbered amongst the Lord's jewels. Hence the Lord's demand is that the quality of firmness, cheerful endurance of whatever his providence may permit, shall be a characteristic of all those who will be fit for the Kingdom.
5. What is the relation between patient- endurance and self-control ?
6. How should we endure our trials and thus ‘possess our souls’?
7. What is the relation between faith and patient-endurance?
8. Why should we ‘glory in tribulation’?
9. What particular thoughts constantly kept in mind will enable us to be ‘patient in tribulation’?
Ro 12:12; R2213 col. 2 ¶3; R2258 col. 1 ¶4, 2258 col. 2 ¶1; F632 ¶2 to 634 ¶2
(Rom 12:12) Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
R2213 c2 p3
"Patient in tribulation." Our word tribulation is derived from the Latin tribulum, the name of a roller or threshing machine used in olden times for cleaning wheat, removing from it the outer husk or chaff. How appropriate the thought when applied to the Lord's consecrated people, who in the Scriptures are symbolized by wheat. Our new natures are the kernel, the real grain: yet this treasure or valuable part is covered with the husk of earthly conditions. And in order that the wheat may be made properly ready for the "garner" and for usefulness, it is necessary that each grain shall pass through the tribulation necessary to separate those qualities which, until separated, render us unfit for the future service to which we are called of the Lord. In proportion as we are able to realize our own imperfections, and the perfect will of God concerning us, we will be enabled to bear patiently, and even with a certain kind of rejoicing, all the tribulations which the Master shall see best to let come upon us. "We glory in tribulations also."--`Rom. 5:3`.
R2258 c1 p4
If we could but keep in memory the fact that every trial, every persecution, every difficulty of life, permitted to come upon those who have made the covenant of sacrifice with the Lord, is intended to prove them, to test their love, to see whether or not their characters are fixed, rooted and grounded in righteousness and being built up in love, it would put all these trials, difficulties and temptations in a new light before us, and greatly assist us in fighting a good fight and overcoming. We would say, If by these little trials the Lord is proving my love and devotion to him, then, however trifling they may be or however important, I will diligently use them as favorable opportunities to demonstrate to my Lord the fulness of my love and devotion to him and his cause. Thus viewed and thus met, every trial and every difficulty would prove to be a blessing: as the Apostle puts it, "Beloved, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;" "greatly rejoice, tho now for a season ye are in manifold temptation, that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than that of gold that perisheth, tho it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." "Blessed is the man that endureth [faithfully under] temptation; for after his trials he will receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." "These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory"--if rightly utilized.--`1 Pet. 1:7`; `Jas. 1:2,12`.
R2258 c2 p1
Thus we are again assured that those who love the Lord, and who in consequence will receive the Kingdom, will be those whose love will have been tested by trials and temptations on the way to it. Those who do not love the Lord with all their hearts, in whom self or some other idol has first place, will be seduced by the world, the flesh or the devil into some form of rebellion against the divine Word or divine providence: they will have schemes and theories which they will prefer to the Lord's plan, and their own theories and plans when analyzed will usually be found to be based either upon selfishness or ambition or upon an evil spirit of envy, hatred, jealousy, etc.
F632:2 to F634:2
We, as the under-priests, must also be "touched" and brought into sympathy with the world to whom we shall shortly be kings, priests and judges. But it is not necessary or possible for us to give largely of our physical strength, or to take the weaknesses and sicknesses of others--we each have some experiences of this kind anyway, by reason of our participation in the fall; for according to the flesh we were "children of wrath even as others," and sharers with the groaning creation in its afflictions. Our Lord's expenditure of vitality was not on behalf of the Church; for it (the Church) could not be recognized until his sacrifice had been completed and been presented to the Father and accepted by him on our behalf--not until Pentecost. Until the Spirit had come upon his followers, it was useless to try to tell them of heavenly things. (John 3:12, 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:10-12) Hence our Lord's energy was largely expended in uttering parables and dark sayings to be understood later by the aid of the Spirit; but chiefly in healing physical infirmities and showing forth thus, in a figure, the greater works and grander healings in which we may participate, now and in the Kingdom--the opening of the eyes of understanding, the causing of the morally dead to hear the voice of the Lord and even now to begin the new life. Thus, the Apostle declares, we are privileged to "lay down our lives for the brethren"--to fill up "the afflictions of Christ for his body's sake, which is the church." 1 John 3:16; Col. 1:24
It will not do to deprive these words of their true meaning and claim that laying down our lives for the brethren will cost us no sacrifice of physical vigor; and that the "afflictions of Christ" cost no physical pain. Our Lord's weariness and loss of "virtue" (vitality) and being "touched with a feeling of our infirmities" contradict any such thought. It should not, therefore, be our expectation to fare better than the world in our earthly interests, but to experience loss, to "suffer with him." Such losses are freely admitted as respects honor amongst men, and financial prosperity--that our Master was made of "no reputation," and "became poor" in his willingness to make others rich--and that the apostles had similar experiences and set us an example. Why then cannot all see that Timothy's "often infirmities," and Paul's "thorn in the flesh," and Epaphroditus' "sickness," were physical ailments similar to those permitted now to the Lord's faithful? True, they were all of the devil, in the sense that sin was started by Satan and that these ailments are some of the results; but they were no more of the devil than were their imprisonments and stripes and shipwreck and death.
Satan probably was indirectly if not directly the instigator of all those physical disasters--all common to men. Yet the Apostle did not esteem himself disowned of God under such experiences, but gloried in them as parts of the sacrifice he was permitted to make, part of the sufferings he was permitted to endure for the Lord's sake, for the truth's sake--and the more these exceeded those of other men the more he rejoiced and counted that his future glory would thereby be enhanced.
However, we are to distinguish between suffering for righteousness' sake and suffering for wrong doing. The Apostle points out that much suffering comes to people on account of busybodying in other people's affairs and other evil doings; and we might specify gluttony (Phil. 3:19) and lack of self-control as among these evils which bring sufferings which cannot be reckoned as sufferings for righteousness' sake. Let none rejoice in such sufferings; but rather mourn and pray and fast--practice self-control. But when, in his best judgment, the New Creature sees the door of opportunity opened to him by Providence and enters it zealously and self-sacrificingly, and it results in physical ailments, which the worldly might consider marks of indiscretion, let him not be ashamed, but glorify God on behalf of such afflictions--rejoicing to be accounted "worthy to suffer" for Christ's sake.
Indeed if ailments come on from any cause not sinful or selfish, they can be received with patience and thanksgiving, and lessons learned of sympathy for the groaning creation and of hope and trust for the promised lifting of the curse in the Millennial morning. Grace in the heart does surely exercise a very favorable influence over every function of life; but it could not (without miraculous interposition) recreate or repair our mortal bodies; and God proposes no such miracles, which would be injurious in leading us to walk by sight and not by faith, and would attract into the Church a class God does not now seek. As we have seen, he justifies us by faith, instead--reckons us as whole while leaving us actually imperfect as ever. Grace in the heart does not render us insensible to the influences of heat and cold, or hunger and thirst, though it does give us patience to endure these when unavoidable, with trust in our heavenly Father's care, and in his promise that all things shall eventually work out good for us if rightly received with patience and faith.
Does this imply that, while the world may seek for roots and herbs and balms for its ills, the New Creation shall seek for and use none of these, that they must endure pain to show their faith? By no means. Let us remember, and impress it upon our minds deeply that God's dealings with his people during this Gospel age are not according to the flesh, but as New Creatures. "The flesh profiteth nothing"--we have consecrated it to death, to destruction, anyway, and our interests as New Creatures are our chief concern. We have a privilege, nevertheless, respecting our mortal bodies, to do what we reasonably can to keep them in order, free from the distractions of dis-ease (lack of ease), but always as our servants, to enable us to perform our covenant of service unto sacrifice. Do they hunger and demand food and drink?--we may gratify their demands, within reasonable bounds, supplying such viands as we believe our Lord would approve, such as would best enable us to do his work faithfully. Do they feel cold and uncomfortable?--it is our privilege to supply clothing of the kind we believe our Lord would approve. Do they burn with fever? or are they racked with pain?--it is our privilege to reduce the fever and relieve the pain by the use of any remedies we may believe beneficial, but not to submit ourselves to clairvoyants, Christian Scientists, hypnotists, or others who use enchantments to charm away the trouble by the aid of our Adversary, who would thus ensnare our minds. The New Creation have every privilege that the natural man enjoys in respect to the care of their poor, frail, dying bodies. Nay, more, it is the duty of every creature to take reasonable care of his body; and this duty is intensified in the case of the New Creation, by reason of the fact that their bodies have been devoted to the Lord's service as sacrifices--even unto death--and they should make as great a service of sacrifice as possible out of them.
10. Does faithfulness to our covenant of self- sacrifice demand patience?
11. How should we meet persecution and opposition?
12. How can we be ‘patient toward all ‘?
13. Why is there special need of patience in the Harvest of the Gospel age?
14. Is it possible to pervert the grace of patience?
15. Why does the Apostle rank patient-endurance above even Love ?
16. What is the relation between patience and ‘enduring hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ’?
17. How are we to run the race for ‘the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus’?
18. Why is patient-endurance the final test ?
19. How is God’s promise to those who ‘keep the word of his patience’ now fulfilled?
20. What lessons do we learn from Jesus’ example of patience?
21. What other notable examples of patience are recorded in Scripture?
22. Is patience an essential quality in an Elder?
23. How can we cultivate patient-endurance?
24. What additional thoughts are suggested by reference to the Topical Indexes of ‘ Heavenly Manna ‘ and the ‘ Watch Tower Bible ‘?