Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Patience: The Pilot of Peace

(Updated: 04/07/16)
     Patience in the time of being injured is simply a wonderful quality to possess. I'm sure that most of us have a difficult time with patience. But the meek shall inherit the earth.  Patience is a quality and a virtue worth acquiring.
     I happened to come across the writings of Tertullian (197-220 A.D.) who was a prolific writer and commentator on Christianity and its relationship to the “world.” His writings are quite logical and he wrote with the ability to be a few steps ahead of the subject matter. Whereas one group of Christian writers exhort us to be patient, writers such as Tertullian have the ability to give us more details in order to help their readers to  actually acquire patience. And I want to visit the issue of
meekness and patience as I think it is an essential quality for a man to have if he wants to be consistently in God's favor.
     Tertullian writes about a man: “Innocent he was, and intimate friendship with God, and the husbandman of paradise.  But when once he succumbed to impatience, he quite ceased to be
a sweet savor to God; he quite ceased to be able to endure things celestial. Thence forward, a creature given to earth, and ejected  from to the sight of God, he begins to be easily turned by impatience unto every use offensive to God.” By being impatient, man loses his ability to have spiritual discernment. He cannot understand spiritual things because through his lack of patience, hurries his decision-making process, and usually makes the wrong  choice—because he wants it now. He wants the immediate fulfillment of his desires, without taking the necessary time to think things through and obtaining the necessary information to make a wise choice.
     At 69 years old, this writer is just now learning how to be patient. And being thrown in prison is the only way I could have learned patience, as my life was going too fast to make the proper
choices and decisions.  Unfortunately, I was never taught how to be patient, nor could I learn it because I don't remember anyone who was a good example of patience. Everything had to be done now, and life seemed to be going from one case of instant gratification to another.
     For instance, I never saved enough money to purchase my own car. I always had car payments and, of course, committed the sin of disobeying God by partaking in usury. This could have
been avoided by either riding my bike or using public transportation for a few more months until I had enough to purchase the car. As a result, I spent more money for the car and greatly offended God as a result. I then got a home loan after I was married and spent more and offended God again. Piling sin upon sin, I used credit cards and other loans because I felt the need to have everything now. Buy now; pay later; offend God in the process. But the worst of all of this is that participating in
usury is considered unjust gain; being the same as theft. It doesn't matter if a man is on the receiving end or the giving side of the loan; any loan with interest is an offense against God and it is
     The driving force behind loans is to satisfy the satanic desire provoked through impatience. It was my impatience in attempting to satisfy my wants before I could afford them. If it wasn't for impatience, the banks, and the loan industry would collapse.
     Then we can see how adultery and fornication are the products of impatience of satisfying the lustful desire. Instead of waiting upon God to send us a proper spouse, through our impatience we instigate unlawful sexual activity. Tertullian said: “Evil is impatience of good.” “None immodest is not impatient of modesty; dishonest of honesty; impious of piety; unquiet of quietness. In order that each individual may become evil, he will be unable to persevere in being of evil; love is patience in the face of hatred, anger, and murder; the truth is patience in the face of lies, error, and deceit.
Godliness is patience in the face of idolatry.”  It is writings such as this last one from Tertullian, that has been very instructive to me and has given me the proper way of looking at the problem of patience. Godliness when practiced by the believer, is patience in the face of idolatry. And it takes an
extreme amount of patience to just exist in today's world of almost complete idolatry.
     When a man loses his patience, he has lost his self-control and his self-restraint and many types of chaos can manifest themselves. At this point in my life, I am just now learning the proper way of patience. I've seen dogs with more patience than me. The people who are blessed in their lives are the ones who have been patient.
     Without patience, there is no hope of being able to keep all of God's commandments all of the time. But with patience, we can achieve all things and please God all of the time. In regard to losing property or possession, Tertullian states: “We ought to endure without heart-sickness the cutting
down or taking away. 'Covetousness.' The spirit of the Lord has through the apostle pronounced ' a root of all evils: (Modern Bibles state: the love of money). “Let us not interpret that covetousness as consisting merely in the concupiscence of what is another's: for even what seems ours is another's; for nothing is ours since all things are God's, whose are we also ourselves. And so, if, when suffering from a loss, we feel impatient, grieving for what is lost from what is not our own, we shall be detected as bordering on covetousness: we seek what is another's when we ill brook losing what is another's. He who is greatly stirred with impatience of a loss, does, by giving things earthly the
precedence over things heavenly, sin directly against God; for the Spirit, which he has received from the Lord, he greatly shocks for the sake of a worldly matter.”
     This passage has been a wonderful help with the loss of my personal possessions. When I was put in prison, I had no way of keeping very much of my property and personal possessions collected over a lifetime. I would sometimes wake up in jail in a state of panic; thinking about all that I had lost. I lost my business, I lost my home, and I lost most of my personal effects. But I had a two-sided battle going on in my mind. Truly, I was “heartsick” over the losses, but on the other hand, there was a
part of me that didn't mind the losses. But since all things are God's; and understanding it in those terms, I am just now starting to put it all in perspective. We do not truly own anything because
God created it. How can a man own the land—something that God created? It is impossible to own the land. A man may have a certain amount of control over it, but he certainly will never in his wildest dreams own land. And it is the same with possessions. So why be covetous over things that are not ours? Nothing is even within our possession without the will of God. Being sorrowful, heart-sick, or despondent serves no constructive purpose, and all it accomplishes is the torment and the trembling of the soul. Tertullian continues: “Willingly, therefore, let us lose things earthly, and let us keep things heavenly. Perish the whole world, so that I may make patience my gain! In truth, I know not whether he who has not made up his mind to endure with constancy the loss of somewhat of his, either by theft, or else by force, or else even by carelessness, would himself readily or
heartily lay hand on his own property in the cause of alms giving:  For who that endures not at all to be cut by another, himself draws the sword on his own body? Patience in losses is an exercise in bestowing and communicating. Who fears not to lose, finds it not irksome to give.” And since God also has told us to care for the poor, it should always be a top priority in a Christian's life to take care of them. Because what we give isn't ours anyway, it is God's, but under our charge to distribute the wealth readily to the needy.
     Understanding the principle of patience has been tough, but a rewarding lesson to learn. Realizing that nothing is really mine makes it much easier to accept the loss of property. But
also, by understanding this, the desire or covetousness disappears along with the heart-sickness of the loss. Tertullian explains the pleasure of patience when he wrote: “I will add somewhat touching the pleasure of patience.  For every injury, whether inflicted by tongue or hand, when it is lighted upon patience, will be dismissed with the same fate as some weapon launched against and blunted on a rock of most steadfast hardness. For it will wholly fall then and there with bootless and fruitless labour; and sometimes will recoil and spend its rage on him who sent it out, with retorted impetus. No doubt the reason why anyone hurts you is that you may be pained: because the hurter's enjoyment consists in the pain of the hurt. When then , you have upset his enjoyment by not being pained, he must needs be pained by the loss of his enjoyment. Then you not only go unhurt away, which even alone is enough for you; but gratified, into the bargain, by your adversary's disappointment, and revenged by his pain. This is the utility and the pleasure of patience.”
     In prison, a so-called “Christian” man was clowning around and called me a “slut-faced whoremongerer.” I asked him if that was the way a “Christian” should speak. He ignored me
and kept on calling me that, very pleased with himself for coming up with the term. I had just finished studying the above passage of Tertullian. He kept calling me the name and I decided not to
respond at all. I simply remained silent and said nothing. I took his enjoyment away.  A few days later, the same man started to ask me stupid questions. I simply ignored him and did not respond to the ridiculous questions. I stared back at him and said nothing. He kept blabbering making himself look foolish. In this type of situation, silence and patience is the most powerful weapon.  So it worked just as Tertullian said that that demonstrated to me the utility of patience; the pleasure was mine by not saying or doing anything. Tertullian explained further: “Where the injury is less, there is no necessity for impatience; but where the injury is greater there more necessary is the remedy for the injury—patience.”
     If the world's political leaders exhibited more patience, then there would be fewer wars. But war is from Satan, Satan is from hell; war is hell, and it is the impatience of the political leaders that promulgate the conditions for war. And impatience plays upon all of the elements of war: anger, hatred, envy, jealously, strife, murder, revenge, and lust for power. The effects of war destroy what God created by returning evil for evil.
     But let's take another look at how Tertullian explains the virtues and effects of patience: “So amply sufficient a depository of patience is God. If it be a wrong which you deposit in his care,
he is an avenger; if a loss, he is a restorer; if pain, he is a healer; if death, he is a reviver. What honor is granted to patience, to have God as her debtor! And not without reason: for she keeps
all his decrees; she has to do with all his mandates. She fortifies faith; is the pilot of peace; assists charity; establishes humility; waits for repentance; sets her seal on confession; rules the flesh;
preserves the spirit; bridles the tongue; restrains the hand; tramples temptations under foot; drives away scandals; gives their crowning grace to martyrdoms; consoles the poor; teaches
the rich moderation; overstrains not the weak; exhausts not the strong; is the delight of the believer; invites the Gentile; commends the servant to his lord, and his lord to God; adorns the woman; makes the man approved; is loved in childhood, praised in youth, looked up to in age; is beauteous in every sex, in every time of life.”  Patience is the discipline and the rule of the true Christian.
It allows the man to effectively rule himself, getting the mastery over his flesh and over sin. It gives the man power to take control of his own conduct and gives him the spiritual strength to get it
accomplished according to the will of God. Therefore, the exercise of patience demonstrates just how
much we love God. And when we are tested, patience will carry the day. If there is something that is lost, God finds a way to restore us. Patience is the godly exercising of our true Christian
faith. Certainly, God is the supreme example of patience; if he is patient with us, then we should honor Him in the same fashion.
     We were created by God to exercise patience.It is through patience that a man is able to keep the
commandments of God—all of His commandments. The virtue of patience is the vehicle that is used to fortify and strengthen a man's faith. In these incredible passages, Tertullian says that patience is “the pilot of peace.” Patience is the controlling virtue that establishes a man upon the proper foundation of God's will.  With a godly amount of patience, almost anything can be
overcome as it is the patience that gives us the power to do good, and overcome evil. Again, patience is a godly quality; impatience is of the devil. Jesus Christ said: “In your patience you possess your
souls.” (Luke 21:19) And it would follow that through impatience a man loses control of his soul. By exercising the virtue of patience, a man empowers himself because he is being obedient to God.
     By looking back on my own life, it has been my impatience that has instigated my bad choices. When I think about it, almost everything I did was done impatiently. And by not being a true Christian, it was not possible for me to exercise patience in a godly manner.  By exercising the virtue of patience, a man can achieve a level of peace in his life, that most people have never experienced. So then when a man is pressured to engage in a sinful activity, if he practices the virtue of patience, he can over come the temptation to commit sin. If patience produces peace; impatience produces war. Patience exists within God's natural order; impatience exist outside of it. War is the direct result of impatience. Even the most powerful nation on earth cannot resist the temptation for war when another nation defies its wishes. The defiant nation also exercises impatience in its behavior towards the most powerful.  Both nations act upon the foundation of impatience and belligerence; which in turn produces hatred, anger, envy, and strife. The logical outcome of these evil workings is war, war,
and more war. War is of the devil, as it destroys men of whom God created. And those who destroy what God created will be destroyed in similar fashion themselves.
     War does not result in the practice of patience, but it is used to promote the destruction of men's souls. Because those who participate in military operations are just as guilty as the one's who order these murders. But it is the impatient who stir up the people into a state of absolute madness. The murder and killing go on—on both sides because each side did not have the moral underpinning of
patience to resolve their differences.
      The powers that be have no faith in God the Creator, nor do they possess a godly patience. In fact, they are the ones who instigate the fulminations on all sides—inciting impatience which results in war. War is just another example of a bad religious exercise because it is satanic. On one had there is God's law; on the other is the devil's world with no law. There is no body of law that is usable if it is of the devil. The law of war is from the devil, and Satan rejoices at the destruction of man because the devil hates God. War is a bad religion because all men in the military have sworn an oath of allegiance to someone or something; putting themselves under a curse. And as all of the history of man has shown that he is not capable of pleasing God by exercising patience because the whole system of government in the world is not founded upon God our Creator, but it is founded upon the
devil's foundation of impatience and war. I cannot find anything good about any government and war.
     I cannot find anything good about any government that is based upon man's idea of freedom—
which can never be—because the only way a man can have true liberty or freedom is the one who can practice patience, and keeps God's commandments.

     How does patience get it done? Tertullian makes an interesting comment: “The shepherd's patience seeks and finds the straying ewe: for impatience would easily despise one ewe; but patience undertakes the labour of the quest, and the patient burden—bearer carries home on his shoulders forsaken sinner. That prodigal son also the Father's patience receives, and clothes, and feeds, and makes excuses for, in the presence of the angry brother's impatience.”

     “Patience undertakes the labour of the quest....” is a stunning remark. She gets the job done; she shoulders the load; she bears the adversity; she assumes the most difficult task.  And if I can point to a major flaw in my faith; impatience would most certainly be at the top of my list. I am now
understanding how impatience was a major flaw in my character, and that anything I tried to do to please God, fell short because of my impatience. Because in the process of being impatient, I ended up with the opposite results of what I had intended. And by impatience, I did things out of ignorance, because I was too impatient to learn how to do them correctly. Patience rules the flesh; she bridles the tongue. This is how we overcome the flesh—we allow patience to “undertake labour of the quest.”  Patience is long suffering. So let's take a look at the Shepherd of Hermas in Mandate #5: “Be thou long suffering and understanding, he saith, and thou shalt have the mastery over all evil deeds, and shalt work all righteousness. For if thou are long suffering, the Holy Spirit that abideth in thee shall be pure, not being darkened by another evil spirit, but dwelling in a large room shall rejoice and be glad with the vessel in which he dwelleth, and shall serve God with much cheerfulness, having prosperity in himself.” Not only is patience “the pilot of peace” as Tertullian states, but also by having patience will give the man mastery over all evil deeds. This doesn't say some—it says all. Tempering the angry temper is included in the following passage: “But if any angry temper approach, forthwith the Holy Spirit, being delicate, is straitened, not having the place clear, and seeketh to retire from the place; for he is being choked by the evil spirit, and has no room to minister unto the Lord, as he desireth, being polluted by the angry temper. For the Lord dwelleth in long-suffering, but the devil in angry temper. Thus, that both spirits then should be dwelling together is inconvenient and evil for that man in whom they dwell.” A man's body is his vessel and the spirit of God—the Holy Spirit—cannot dwell with the evil spirit at the same time. One of them has to go. But by exercising patience, a man can overcome evil and an angry temper.
     If patience can overcome an angry temper, then we can see how it can also bridle the tongue. If the angry temper is under control, then the tongue can remain quiet. Patience becomes the controller; instead of anger and a loose tongue. If patience can overcome the angry temper and bridle the tongue, then it can also prevent wars and other forms of murder. If young people learned patience properly, then they would be less likely to engage in premarital sex—fornication--which destroys the mind and
separates them from God. If more people searched the scriptures, then they wouldn't be so easily led astray by false prophets and false teachers.  Patience does not expect anything now, but it waits until
its proper time. Patience fills the heart with joy; being a delight to the believer.
     Patience allows enough time to learn things and understand them in their proper order. Patience allows for thoughtful consideration of all the facts and evidence; before it draws a conclusion. Patience establishes the proper amount of all of her essential elements to firmly establish a man in God's will.  Patience dissolves tension between people and she allows the mind to think properly.
     Another example of patience being the “pilot of peace” is in the area of revenge, or in today's vernacular; payback. We are taught in the true scriptures never to repay evil with evil; but rather to be long suffering. We see in Revelation: “If any lead into captivity, he shall go into captivity: if any kill with a sword, he must be killed by a sword: here is the patience and the faith of
the Saints.” (Revelation 13:10)
     As patience is indeed the “pilot of peace” we can see how patience is the instrument that keeps us away from God's prerogative; applying vengeance. And by not repaying evil with evil, a man leaves the vengeance to God and God alone. It is God who will repay and take revenge; the proper amount to the proper person in His own time. God does not need our help giving out vengeance as man is not capable of applying this kind of judgment, in a manner or fashion that would be approved by God.
Vengeance is God's territory, and men need the patience to allow God to do His work unobstructed by impatient men.
     One way I have found that works for me in exercising patience is to keep my mouth shut when I am tempted run off at the mouth. My natural reaction sometimes is to start flapping my mouth and become part of the conversational fiasco. When I remember to shut up, the other people become very
uncomfortable and sometimes say: “Why don't you say something?” Many times I don't even respond to that because I am attempting to exercise patience. But I still have to think about it. I don't do it naturally yet; I'm getting better, but I have to actively concentrate to exercise any control over my mouth.
     One of my problems was that I tried to think and speak at the same time, often with very poor results. Now I am aware of the problem; primarily due to a lack of patience, I am able to more readily bridle the tongue. And by paying attention to my own patience, I can pay more attention to controlling myself in a way that I had never thought possible.  Patience is indispensable to the Christian because the whole belief system is completely contrary to the way the world works. In the world, it seems that almost everything is a fight; a fight against God and His natural order of life.
And it is a constant struggle economically to stay ahead financially in a system based on usury. Compound interest is Satan's tool of slavery; financial and personal. Usury feeds upon the ungodly impatience. Do it now; get it now! Good economic principles are thrown out the window. There is nothing good about  usury—interest upon interest—and it separates a man from
     While current economic trends lend themselves to usury, the fact is that people should begin to control their desires to have something now, and simply wait until they can afford the things
that they wish to buy. This would greatly diminish the power of the bankers, and put the financial system within the boundaries of God's law. If a debt is incurred, no interest can be charged. Impatience satisfies the immediate desire, but it leaves the man wanting—in a spiritual sense—in the aftermath of the fulfillment. Therefore, he cannot ever be completely happy as his body, mind, and spirit are in conflict between God's will and the devil's will. But with the exercising of patience, a man can
achieve that happiness by always abiding in the commandments of God.
     And it is impatience that breaks down relationships between and among people. We do things fast—just to get them done; when it may have been better to take more time in making a
decision to act.  The decision to marry a particular person, if made hastily, can come out with disastrous results. Many times we make important decisions based on its expediency, rather than the wisdom of it. This is due to impatience, and the usual outcome of such decisions is confusion and disorder. Making any decision based on confusion will not come out well because the foundation of such decisions is not based upon coherency.  Likewise, disorder means that the knowledge needed to make a wise choice is unorganized and it is not complete. For the most part, my whole life was run based upon impatient choices.  As patience is the pilot of peace, we can see how much it will benefit as to exercise patience to the fullest extent possible.
     Patience “undertakes the labor the quest”--it gets the job done. Patience will produce the ability for a man to avoid sinful behavior. Impatience produces the evil that instigated sin. Patience gives us the ability to love our neighbor; impatience produces thoughts of murdering our neighbor. Patience
overcomes the temptation to engage in sexual sin; impatience commits the act. Patience gives a man the ability to work and prosper in his labor; impatience causes him to become a thief. Patience is a virtue of the highest order and it pleases God; impatience serves the devil.

Walter Allen Thompson has a new book called Natural Law: The True Supreme Law of the Land
Read Tertullian's Of Patience

No comments:

Post a Comment