“In your patience possess ye your souls.” —Luke 21:19
In this chapter of Luke, the Lord deals with three distinct time periods in Israel’s history:
•The signs of the times regarding the second coming (Luke 21:8-11).
•The persecution that would come to the early church as portrayed in the book of Acts (Luke 21:12-17).
•The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Luke 21:18-24).
And in Luke 21:25-28, Christ speaks again of the second coming.
Right in the middle of speaking about the trials and tribulations to come, Jesus tells His followers, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” What does He mean by use of this word patience?
In the New Testament, this word is used thirty-four times with three different meanings. Let’s look at these three meanings.
Three times the word patience is used in Matthew 18:26, 29, and in James 5:7, and it means “longsuffering” or “exercising understanding and patience toward people.”
The second meaning is “self-restraint before proceeding to action” or “the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so.” This meaning is found in Hebrews 6:12 and James 5:10.
The final meaning and the one found twenty-nine times in the New Testament is “endurance to persevere, perseverance, endurance in suffering,” “the quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances,” and “the bearing of evil and suffering with a tranquil mind.”
This is the idea that the Lord presents in Luke 21:19. Israel is going to be destroyed in AD 70, but to those in Jerusalem who believed the Word of the Lord, when that time came, they endured and persevered by fleeing to the mountains with not one Christian losing his life.
Patience And Faith
By understanding that troubles do come our way and are sometimes longstanding, there is another element of patience that one must consider, and that is faith.
Even though in the Greek definition of patience the word faith is not used, I believe the expression or the essence of the word is found in the definition. One cannot endure or persevere without faith. If one truly believes that the Lord is able to help him endure, then faith becomes the foundation of his belief system, which produces the patience that enables him to endure.
Patience Of Job
James 5:11 says, “Ye have heard of the patience of Job.” For the Holy Spirit to call this to our attention means we must not pass over what is being said. Job did not allow his trials and tribulations to stop him from believing and trusting in God.
And Paul did not allow his sufferings to hinder his faith. In Romans 5:3 he said, “But we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”
I have read this passage many times, but it was during a recent study that this verse stood out to me. It was as if the Holy Spirit caused the word patience to jump off the page. I knew right away that the meaning of this word had nothing to do with having patience with people, but it was something deeper, so I did a word study of this word, and that’s when I began to see what the Holy Spirit was impressing upon me: where there is faith, there is patience.
Faith is what undergirds us in these trials. So, in the midst of your trials, let patience (faith) possess your soul.
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