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Saturday, March 06, 2010

the power of consistency

The Power of Consistency

“Just be patient.”
If you’re like most believers, you probably cringe when you
hear the word “patience.” To most Christians, being patient means
gritting your teeth and hanging on by your toenails in hopes things
will eventually get better. We think it means “hang on until the
bitter end or until Jesus comes back”—whichever comes first.
If you’ve been reluctant to ask God for patience, I’ve got good
news for you today. That’s not what the Bible means when it talks
about being patient. Bible patience is something very different.
In fact, I’m reluctant to even use the term patience because we’ve
gotten such a skewed perception of what it means. I prefer to use
the term consistency.

Patience = Consistency

When the Bible talks about patience, it speaks of so much more
than simply “enduring,” although there certainly is an element of
endurance implied. The Greek word usually translated “patience”
in the New Testament is the word hupomone.
According to the Strong’s Greek Dictionary, one of the primary
meanings of hupomone is “constancy.” In other words—consistency.
At this point you may be thinking, What difference does it make?
Is it really important to know the true meaning of biblical patience?
The answer is, “Absolutely, positively yes!”
Patience is a vital element in the life of a victorious believer. In
fact, the Word says that without patience you can’t inherit any of
the promises of God. To inherit any of God’s great and precious
promises such as healing, protection, or financial provision, you
must have the element of patience working in your life. Read on
and I’ll show you.

“You Have Need of Patience”

Look with me at Hebrews 10:35–36:
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense
of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have
done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (KJV)
There are several startling truths in these verses. First, did
you know that it’s possible to do the will of God and still not
inherit God’s promise? That revelation comes as a shock to a lot of
believers.
Most of us were led to believe that as long as you were obedient,
heaven would open up and pour out every promise in God’s
Word. But according to this verse, another element must be present
for those promises to be manifested in your life. That element
is patience.
Other Christians think that “faith” is the only thing they need
to bring these promises into reality. But according to Hebrews
6:12, they’re mistaken:
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith
and patience inherit the promises. (KJV)
Did you catch that? It’s through faith and patience that we
become inheritors of God’s promises. Kenneth Copeland calls
faith and patience “the power twins.” That’s a good description.
You can have all the faith in the world, but if you don’t also have
the Bible-kind of patience, you’ll not experience the fullness of all
Jesus died to give you. They work hand in hand.
We see the link between faith and patience affirmed again in
James 1:2–4:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But
let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and
entire, wanting nothing. (KJV)
There are two things I want you to notice about this passage.
First of all, faith and patience are once again paired. Secondly,
notice that once patience has done “her perfect work,” you become
“perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
The NIV translates that last phrase, “that you may be mature
and complete, not lacking anything.”
This is just another way of describing true prosperity. When
you are mature, complete, and have everything you need, you’re
prosperous in every sense of the word!
Think about it. Patience (or consistency), if allowed to perform
its work in your life, can put you in a place in which you want for
nothing. Everything is provided.

A Consistency Check

As we’ve seen, the Bible-kind of patience is synonymous with
“consistency.” So, at this point, you may be wondering, If consistency
is so important, how do I know if I have it? And if I don’t have
it, how can I get it?
As usual, the Bible gives us solid answers to these questions.
First, let’s define what it means to be consistent.
Consistency, for the believer, means constantly and unchangingly
applying the principles of the Word to your situation. It
means being consistent in the words you speak, consistent in the
thoughts upon which you dwell, consistent in your behavior, consistent
in your giving, and consistent in your loving.
That’s the kind of patience that, added to your faith, will bring
the promises of God into manifestation in your life. We see this
principle operating in the lives of many great men and women of
God in the Bible.
For example, we’ve already looked at Hebrews 6:12, in which
we’re told that “through faith and patience we inherit the promises.”
Now look at the very next few verses:
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear
by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will
bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he
had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:13–
15 KJV)
Here we see the key to Abraham’s realization of the miraculous
promise of God. He waited with consistency, or as King James
translation says, “patiently.”
How do you know if you are walking in that kind of consistency?
As we discovered in James chapter one, you find out in the
midst of a time of trial or testing.
When trouble comes—when the Devil attacks you with
sickness, oppression, or lack—the way you respond determines
whether or not you possess the element of patience.
The first place to look for consistency is in your behavior. If you
act and react one way when life is good, business is booming and
people are treating you well, then act another way when the pressure
is on, that’s inconsistency and a dead giveaway that patience is
not operating in your life as it should.
Another place to check is in the words of your mouth. The
consistent man or woman says the same thing no matter what the
circumstances look like. They say what the Word says.
If you lack patience, your words will give you away every time.
You’ll find yourself saying things like, “I don’t think this faith
stuff works for me.” Or, “I don’t know what we’re going to do if
God doesn’t come through for us.” Other times, you’ll find yourself
rehearsing your problem to your spouse or anyone else who’ll
stand still and listen.
The fact is, you must have a consistent, Word-based confession
in order for patience to have her perfect work in your life.
Still another area in which consistency is vital is your thought
life. It’s possible, for a time, to be consistent in what you say but
still spend time meditating upon and thinking about things that
are contrary to the Word of God.
That’s inconsistent thinking. We’re told in 2 Corinthians 10:5
to cast down “...imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth
itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity
every thought to the obedience of Christ” (KJV).
If you’re proclaiming “my God shall supply all my needs...”
and at the same time, you’re worrying and dwelling on thoughts of
bankruptcy and foreclosure, you’ve moved into inconsistency and
blocked God’s ability to bring His promise to bear in your life.
Another area in which consistency is crucial (especially when
the tough times come) is in the realm of giving.
Far too many believers let their tithing and giving slip at the
first sign of financial pressure. In contrast, the patient, consistent
believer will keep right on tithing and right on giving no matter
how hard the enemy tries to get them to back off.
consistent man or women says the
same thing no matter what the circumstances
look like. They say what the W ord says.

That kind of consistency unleashes tremendous power, not
only in the realm of your finances, but in every area of your life.
It puts you in position to be that Christian who is “perfect and
complete, wanting nothing.”
Finally, you must make a quality decision to be consistent in
loving others. When life starts turning the heat up on you, it’s very
easy to find yourself responding to those around you in selfishness
or self-pity, rather than in love. That may be the “natural” way to
respond to pressure but it’s not God’s way.
Jesus couldn’t have been any clearer when He said, “This is
my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life
for his friends” (John 15:12, 13 KJV).
Check the consistency of your love walk. Examine your heart
for any traces of unforgiveness or bitterness. If you can respond in
love even in the hard times, you’re a prime candidate to receive the
promise of God.
I’m convinced that it is in the area of consistency where most
Christians blow it. Ninety-nine percent of all so-called “faith
failures” are the result of inconsistencies in one or more of these
areas.
I’ve heard it dozens of times. “I’m been tithing for six months
and I’m still having trouble paying my bills!” Or, “I’ve been confessing
my healing for three weeks now, and I’m just as sick as
when I started!”
These are classic examples of failing to receive the promise of
God because of a lack of consistency. The Devil knows that if he
can get you to back off your stand of faith by turning up the heat a
little bit, you’ll never walk in the winning lifestyle God wants you
to experience.

Three Keys to Consistency

At this point, you may be saying, “Enough! I’m convinced I
need the power of consistency. But how do I develop it?”
The Bible offers three great keys that will help you cultivate the
force of consistency in your life. The first of these keys is joy.
Do you remember what James 1:2 said? “Count it all joy when
ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of
your faith worketh patience” (KJV). Joy is a key to maintaining
your consistency in hard times.
Why is joy so important? Because as Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The
joy of the Lord is your strength.”
You need strength to maintain your confession in the midst of
a trial. You need strength to continue walking in love when others
treat you badly. You need strength to be a giver when there doesn’t
seem to be enough money to go around. And as the Word says, a
wonderful source of such supernatural strength is joy.
The second key to patience and consistency is found in another
passage of scripture we’ve already examined—Hebrews 10:35, 36:
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense
of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have
done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (KJV)
“Don’t cast away your confidence,” we’re told. Confidence is an
important key to maintaining consistency.
“Confidence in what?” you may ask. Confidence in the goodness
of God. It comes from a revelation that God isn’t sending
trouble and disaster into your life to teach you something. I’m
talking about confidence in God’s faithfulness and in the integrity
of His Word.
You can’t be consistent in the face of a trial if you’re standing
there in fear and doubt, wondering whether it’s God or Satan
behind all your troubles. You develop confidence by diving into
God’s Word and finding out for yourself that Jesus loves you and
wants to give you life and that it is Satan who is in the world to
steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).
The third key to cultivating consistency is found in 2 Corinthians
1:3,4:
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father
of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all
our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in
any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted
of God. (KJV)
As you may have guessed, the third key is comfort.
When you’re in the middle of a crisis, it’s vital that you recognize
that your heavenly Father is the “God of all comfort.” God has
an abundant supply of comfort ready to flow your direction, but
you can only receive it by spending time in His presence.
When times are hard, it’s more important than ever to take the
time to press into God’s presence through worship and prayer. As
you do, you’ll tap into a heavenly reservoir of comfort that will
enable you take a firm, consistent stand. A stand that will carry
you through the toughest problem right into the promise of God.
Now, the next time you hear someone say “Just be patient,”
don’t wince—simply say “Praise God, I am patient. I’m cultivating
the force of consistency!”
Then you can rejoice in knowing that you’re in position to
receive every glorious promise in God’s Word. Furthermore, you’ll
know patience is at work in you to make you “perfect, complete,
and lacking nothing.”
Make a quality decision to win in 2010 by cultivating the quality
of consistency.

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