I believe this is probably an area where most of us could use some growth. Patience is not a hallmark of our generation. So we will have to consciously invite God to work in us in this area.
What is patience? I like this definition:
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. (What Christians Want to Know)
Patience is the key to our ability to grow stronger spiritually during trials and difficulties.
Old Testament = waiting, expecting, hoping for what God promised.
New Testament = endurance, self-restraint, not reacting in sinful anger even in the face of provocation, longsuffering, waiting, steadfastness, forbearance.
Patience doesn’t mean we never address sin against us. But it does mean we are quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19). It also means we understand when to give grace and overlook offenses and when we need to gently, respectfully, firmly address sin or injustice.
Gotquestions.org “What Does the Bible Say About Patience?”:
The true test of patience is when our rights are violated. Some think impatience is holy anger and they have the right to get upset in the face of irritation and trials. Patience reveals our faith in God’s timing, omnipotence, and love… Most of the Greek words translated “patience” in the New Testament are active, robust words… A Christian runs the race (Heb. 12:1) patiently by persevering through difficulties. In the Bible, patience is persevering towards a goal, enduring trials, or expectantly waiting for a promise to be fulfilled.
Patience takes time to develop because we learn it through trials. It is not instantaneous. We grow in patience as we learn to depend on God and rest in His will and the wisdom of His timing and provision even when circumstances look bleak, uncertain, or foreboding.
When you find your expectations are not being met and you are tempted to respond with impatience, consider doing this instead for the next 4 days:
1. Acknowledge This Trial Is a Spiritual Test.
I need to see with spiritual eyes. The issue confronting me that fills me with frustration and angst is an opportunity to test my faith. It is a chance to choose to die to myself and yield to the control of the Holy Spirit. Or it is a chance to give in to temptation and lash out at people around me in sinful anger, impatience, and rage.
What person do I want to be? What legacy do I want to leave for my children and others?
Am I willing to let God teach me and show me the way out from temptation?
2. Focus on What God Calls You to Do and What You Actually Control.
The temptation here is to try to control other people or circumstances that are often out of my control. When I try to control things over which I have no actual power, I end up feeling really upset and resentful.
My power here is to control things that are in my realm of control. My thoughts. My attitude about the situation. My perspective. My words. My body language. And my actions.
With the power of the Holy Spirit, I can see with a totally different perspective – an eternal one. I can see that some things in this world really won’t matter much in a week, a year, or in eternity. I can remember that my attitude and the way I think about and treat others will matter on Judgement Day in heaven. I can choose to assume the best, rather than the worst, and to respond with compassion instead of negativity.
And I can remember that being a few minutes late or having to wait for 15 extra minutes in line may not actually matter much in the long run. Perhaps there are things to be thankful for. What if, in this delay, God is sparing me from an accident or something that I have no idea is about to happen. I can choose to trust God’s sovereignty and goodness.
I can choose to let go of my expectations, whenever possible, and look to God to see what He wants to do in me through this aggravating scenario and yield myself to be available to Him.I can choose an attitude of thanksgiving, praise, love, and faith in God.
3. Look for Ways to Be a Godly Example and to Be the Mouth, Hands, and Feet of Jesus.
What if this situation that has put a kink in my day is an opportunity the Lord sent to me to witness for Him to someone? Maybe my child, my husband, my coworker, or a frazzled and overwhelmed new grocery store employee needs a glimpse of the love, mercy, and grace of Christ. And maybe God gave me this situation as an opportunity to do His kingdom’s work and bless someone else.
What encouragement could I offer? How could I lighten someone’s load who is stressed? How could I respond with maturity to de-escalate the tension and breathe Life and healing into the lives of those around me? Is God trying to prompt me to do or say something in particular to minister to someone?
4. Invite God to Help You Grow Stronger Spiritually Through This Situation.
What if God wants to use this obstacle to train and discipline me as a coach would train an athlete? What spiritual treasures and truths does God want me to tap into and learn here?Am I willing to see this as an assignment and a strengthening exercise to help me grow in Christlikeness? Am I willing to see it as something that will help me be more godly in the future?
Pray with Me
I know I have a lot of room for growth in the patience department. Help us all be open to what You want to do in our hearts and souls as we study the incredibly precious virtue of patience this week. Change our thinking. Help us to tune in to Your voice and Your agenda. Cleanse us from our impatience and quick tempers. Empower us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.
Conform us to the image of Christ more and more even now and use our lives for Your greatest glory!
Scripture for Meditation
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.Prov. 16:32
How have you learned to respond when you are tempted to be impatient?Do you need prayer and more encouragement in this area?
Let me know if you want to join me in this challenge! I will be glad to check in with you and provide extra support if you need it. We can pray for each other!
If you join the challenge, I encourage you to write down the four steps and post it somewhere you will see often or save the image to your lock screen.