I realized today that I had been impatient with several people over the past week. And I really regret it. I decided to do a little personal study on patience.
The very first verse I read was this one (talk about adding to the conviction the Holy Spirit was already putting in my heart): “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”- Ephesians 4:2.
I don’t really have to go much further in my study. Impatience is the opposite of complete humility and complete gentleness. Impatience is the opposite of bearing with my brothers and sisters in Jesus in love. Impatience and love simply cannot coexist.
Daggers to my heart. I thought I was a pretty loving and gentle guy. But when I keep finding myself treating another person flippantly and as though I have more important things to get on to, I must admit that loving and gentle, humble and forbearing just aren’t words that describe those actions or thoughts.
Proverbs 19:11 continues the onslaught. “A man’s wisdom gives him patience. It is to his glory to overlook an offense.” What? Impatience is clear evidence of a lack of wisdom? Argh. And even when people wrong me – like it truly is an offense – I am shown to be wise to overlook it? Sigh. (Picture Charlie Brown).
Proverbs 25:15 teaches me that patience leads to persuasiveness. I like to persuade. I mean, I do have good ideas. So, hmmm, perhaps I even have selfish reasons to learn patience.
And, I really do want to be known as a Spirit-filled follower of Jesus, and God clearly teaches us that a fruit of the Spirit is patience. Galatians 5:22-23. Moreover, Paul challenges all of us to be patience and gracious, noting that a lack of those things demonstrates contempt for the patience and grace God has demonstrated for us. Romans 2:4.
I also cannot forget one of my favorite passages of Scripture, one that we chose to have read at our wedding over 15 years ago. I pray that I continue to grow in my understanding and application of these words. They are words I hope describe our family’s ministry every day.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
So, Lord, please grant me patience. Help me grow in love for everyone whom You bless me to know and meet each and every day. May my patience lead to prayer and grace, in love, for your sons and daughters. Thank you for your forgiveness and grace, and for your beautiful creatures and creation. Amen.