*Waiting on God
With the Lord…a thousand years are like a day.
2 Peter 3:8 NIV
If we hold fast, “Other foundation can no man lay than…Jesus Christ” and “I am justified freely by God’s grace,” still Satan urges, “But the tree is known by its fruits; have you the fruits of justification? Is that mind in you which was in Jesus Christ? Are you dead to sin and alive to righteousness?”
And then, comparing the small fruits we feel in our souls with the fullness of the promises, we shall be ready to conclude, “Surely God has not said that my sins are forgiven! Surely I have not received the remission of sins. What lot have I among those who are sanctified?”
But bind this about your neck; write it upon your heart; “I am accepted before God by the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Admire more and more the free grace of God in so loving the world as to give His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (see John 3:16). So shall the peace of God flow on in an even stream, in spite of all the mountains of ungodliness. They shall become a plain in the day when the Lord comes to take full possession of your heart. The Lord is not lacking for time to accomplish the work that still needs to be done in your soul. And His time is the best time. Therefore, ask Him and trust in Him, for he cannot withhold from you anything that is good.
*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
In this thirty-fifth lesson on prayer, Wesley encourages us to have patience when it comes to our progression in sanctification. We know the enemy is going to challenge us by pointing out those areas where we still need to grow in grace. He will point out our shortcomings and urge us to look inside instead of keeping our eyes where they need to be. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NASB).
We are to run our race, or our life, with endurance. The Greek word for endurance means to be patient, not surrender to circumstances, or succumb under trial. This is why it is so vital that we keep our eyes on Jesus as an example of one who endured far more than we have and finished His race, now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Paul, when writing to the Philippians shared his strategy for running his own race of sanctification in saying, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:12-14). Paul knew he had shortcomings, but he refused to loose sight of the prize. He kept running, not looking back on who he once was, but moving forward to fulfill what God intended Him to be. We must do the same.
Endurance is also associated with hope. Paul, early in his letter to the Philippians said, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Wesley ends this lesson on a similar note, saying, “The Lord is not lacking for time to accomplish the work that still needs to be done in your soul. And His time is the best time. Therefore, ask Him and trust in Him, for he cannot withhold from you anything that is good.”