If You Only Knew How Patient I Am Being

Patience is a virtue. Patience is in short supply. Patience is hard. It’s especially hard when a guy writes blog posts that people have the nerve to disagree with. What is wrong with you people?

And yet, I know what is wrong with you people: you’re all too dumb to see my brilliance. Therefore, I, the one who actually has a clue, put up with the rest of y’all.

Here’s the thing about patience though, if you have to tell people how patient you are being with them, you’re actually not patient at all.

“Long-suffering,” I think, is a better, more descriptive word for patience, although I’m sure some know-it-all will explain to me with etymology and English derivatives how “long-suffering” is actually the stupidest word to use for patience because of the 5th century Latin blah, blah, blah.

Put a sock in it ya know-it-all jerk.

OK, where was I. Ah yes, long suffering. Long suffering means to suffer a long time. If you are doing the right thing and suffering for it, it’s actually worth it, a reason to rejoice, the Bible tells us.

If you suffer for doing wrong, well, that’s called “duh, what did you think was gonna happen?”

It amuses me how many people want credit for their long-suffering. How many parents want to rub their patience with their kids into their kids’ face. “If you only knew, how much I worked for you, and I do this because I love you and all I get is broken dishes? Broken dishes? That’s what I get out of this? If you only knew how much patience I use to even live in the same house with you.”

Yeah, you’re done. See, that’s not patience. That might be grin and bear it fortitude to some extent, but it’s not patience.

Patience does the right thing because the right thing should be done. When you do the right thing for the right reason, you don’t need the reward or sympathy of people, you merely rejoice that your Father in heaven who sees in secret will reward you.

Because of the reward from your Father that is coming, you do the right thing without rubbing it in people’s faces, nor seeking attention and sympathy for your great sacrifice of patience.

If patience in your life feels more like poor-me-sacrifice, then you’re not really being patient. Thayer’s Definitions defines patience as “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”

Patience is tied in with doing the right thing. Patience is not done to be acknowledged; patience is done because what you are doing is the right thing to do.

If you disagree, go take a long walk off a short stick suspended over a giant barrel of ravenous, man-eating lions, ya moron.

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Let’s Outlaw The Word “Antinomian”

The other day I mentioned the verses about those who say “Lord, Lord, look at all the great things we did in your name.” The Judge’s opinion of their good deeds is that they were sin.

He will say to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” The word “iniquity” is from the Greek word anomia, from which we get the big ol word antinomianism.

Nomos is the Greek word for “law.” In Greek, any time there is the a- prefix before a word, it means against or without. English, in its ever helpful ways, doesn’t go with “anomianism” as it nicely did with “atheism” (a- without and theo–God), but expands it to antinomian.

Antinomianism is a large theological word that is thrown around willy-nilly in our day. I don’t know of anyone who claims to be antinomian, but I do know many who have been accused of being antinomian. 90% of all theological arguments include someone charging their opponent with being a Pelagian or an Antinomian. Neither charge is typically true.

Since no one claims to be antinomian, it’s hard to nail down a definition. The opposite of antinomian is to be a legalist, I guess, one who can’t stop bashing people with laws. Antinomians are the polar opposite of Pharisees.

According to Scripture, antinomianism is someone who sins, one who does iniquity, in which case we are all antinomians.

Theological antinomianism is saying there are no restraints on human behavior, no morality, no obligation to do right and by default, there isn’t really anything bad. Although some get dangerously close to saying this, I would label them Libertines, because even they will at some point admit there is some bad stuff you shouldn’t do, even though God may let you get away with it.

Since no one actually is theologically antinomian in this sense, and the word is generally used pejoratively, I move we don’t use it anymore in our theological debates. Ballots will be handed out at 3. Vote early and vote often.

Scientists Have Discovered A Conscience, Or Something

“Scientists at Oxford University have made a startling discovery: they’ve found a region of the brain that makes you wonder if you’ve done something wrong, and whether you’d have been well advised to do something better.”

The region of the brain that allows you to consider your decision making is called the lateral frontal pole and it’s only in humans. It’s about the size of “a large Brussels sprout” and doesn’t taste any better.

So, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, this area of the brain got its first exercise. Now that we know where it is, perhaps we can start putting it to some more exercise.

Russia Thinks the US is Godless and Dealing With Beams In Your Eye

Russia used to be the whipping boy of American Christians. If there was one huge enemy of God from the 50’s through the 80’s, it was godless, atheist, horrible, Communist Russia.

Communists are constantly being bashed in biblical commentaries of that time, usually invoking the antichrist at some point.

Well, we’ve come a long way baby! Russia is now talking about America in much the same way.

President Putin, in his version of his country’s state of the union address, said,

“Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said, “We have been through an epoch of atheism, and we know what it is to live without God. We want to shout to the whole world, ‘Stop!’”

This, yet again, proves the Bible’s point–rather than concentrate on the sins of others, start dealing with your own. When you get full of yourself and how much better you are than others, a fall is coming. Generally, you become who you judge.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on What Is Heaven Like?

“People often ask why we are not told more about [heaven]. I think there are two answers to that.

“One is that because of our sinful state any description we might be given would be misunderstood by us. It is so glorious that we could never understand nor grasp it.

“The second reason is more important: it is that it is often idle curiosity that desires to know more. I will tell you what heaven is. It is ‘to be with Christ,’ and if that does not satisfy you, then you do not know Christ at all.

“‘Whom have I in heaven but thee?’ says the psalmist. I do not want anything else. Where Thou art is heaven. Just to look at Thee is sufficient. ‘To be with Christ’ is more than enough, it is everything.”
–Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Faith Tried and Triumphant

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“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
The Apostle John
John 17:3

Perplexed but Not In Despair and the State of My Union

The Apostle Paul, when he gets on a roll, can really describe the tension of Christian living really well. I’m sure the Holy Spirit is glad I like His writing style.

2 Corinthians displays Paul’s emotions about his life, and one of the greatest phrases ever penned to describe Christian life occurs in 2 Corinthians 4:8. Without further ado, well, maybe a little more ado, (ado, ado, ado) here is the phrase:

“we are perplexed, but not in despair”

Oh that’s beautiful!

Perplexed means–“to be in doubt, not to know which way to turn, not to know how to decide or what to do.” Oh wow! If that doesn’t describe my life to a tee (or is it to a tea?), I don’t know what does.

I don’t know what to do about my kids, people I’m trying to help, or anyone else for that matter. I have no idea what to do about state of the union addresses. I have no idea what to do about crime and punishment. I have my doubts about every possible solution, no matter how strongly and authoritatively it is stated.

Despair means–“to be utterly at loss, be utterly destitute of measures or resources, to renounce all hope.”

Seems to me, the difference between perplexed and despair is that despair has no hope.

Perplexed is saying “I have no idea what to make of state of the union addresses, especially since I’ve  never listened to one, but brother, life goes on and in the end the King of Kings will set it all right.”

Despairing says, “If I hear one more word from any politician ever, that’s it, I’m done. Moving to Alaska and getting eaten by a bear.”

The world is filled with despair and because of the world’s despair, Christians should be perplexed. Christians should never despair, because in the Gospel, in the new life in Christ, there is hope and hope saves. We inherit a better world.

If there is no resurrection we are of all men most miserable. But there is a resurrection, so there is no need to despair!

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

That’s the state of my union, brothers and sisters!

John Fletcher’s 12 Questions of Spiritual Examination

John Fletcher, a great Wesleyan preacher from the 18th Century, had 12 questions he would ask himself every night to see what part sin played in his day. He went on to have his church use these questions to examine their own lives.

There are many who spend way too much time in introspection, but the vast majority of us, even while thinking about ourselves all the time, aren’t really thinking spiritual thoughts of introspection. These are a fine guideline to begin thinking about sin in your life.

Note there isn’t anything in here about homosexuality, abortion or murder. He is examining Christian virtue from the heart level, from the nitty-gritty, unbelievably practical level. Sin isn’t just the big stuff; it always starts small.

1. Did I awake spiritual, and was I watchful in keeping my mind from wandering this morning when I was rising?
2. Have I this day got nearer to God in times of prayer, or have I given way to a lazy, idle spirit?
3. Has my faith been weakened by unwatchfulness, or quickened by diligence this day?
4. Have I this day walked by faith and eyed God in all things.
5. Have I denied myself in all unkind words and thoughts; have I delighted in seeing others preferred before me?
6. Have I made the most of my precious time, as far as I had light, strength and opportunity?
7. Have I kept the issues of my heart in the means of grace, so as to profit by them?
8. What have I done this day for the souls and bodies of God’s dear saints?
9. Have I laid out anything to please myself when I might have saved the money for the cause of God?
10. Have I governed well my tongue this day, remembering that in a multitude of words there wanteth not sin?
11. In how many instances have I denied myself this day?
12. Do my life and conversation adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ?