Have you ever heard the old adage, don’t pray for patience because then all kinds of things will happen that try your patience? As true as that may be, I believe these trials are God-given opportunities to exercise our “patience muscles”. Physical work-outs build our body but spiritual muscles build our character. There is a genuine peace that comes from waiting and this peace is how God wants us to live. James was totally on point when he said “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2)
Ahh, so all those trials produce patience!
Patience is a virtue! Virtue defined is: behavior showing high moral standards.
Unfortunately, patience is not a virtue easy to come by especially in our fast paced, instant gratification world. Our society seems to believe we deserve immediate attention. Not many are willing to let others go before them in line at the grocery, we speed from one place to another cursing the slow car in front of us, we holler and scream when our electronic device doesn’t move fast enough and then wonder why we are frustrated! But look at what we would miss out on without patience:
Luke 8:15 says with patience we will bear fruit . . .
…so, maybe instead of going bananas we should produce bananas? [cringe], I know, that was bad, but you get the point.
According to Luke 21:19, patience helps us to possess our souls; in other words, patience brings self control.
Does that mean no more banging on the table or throwing objects across the room because your tablet doesn’t load fast enough? Ooh, did I hear someone say ouch?
Timothy tells us to pursue patience – it’s not easy but if you believe Hebrews 6:12 [you gotta look this one up yourself] then we need to go after it until we get it!
Praying for patience is one way to pursue it.
Psalm 37:7 and 40:1 both say wait patiently for the Lord. In Hebrew, that word wait means to twist together, like 2 cords. The twisting is often painful and difficult but the process binds us tighter to God, you know, like how a 2 ply cord is stronger than 1? The trials, the waiting, the twisting – all of it, just helps us to become so wrapped up in God He becomes an integral part of our life. This strength of patience is what creates the virtue of high moral behavior. Think about how much better we can exemplify Christ when we exercise patience. We certainly would look different than the world.
Patience and hope are like that 2 ply cord – they go hand in hand. Paul reminded the Thessalonians of that in his first letter to them (Chapter 1, verse 3).
Developing patience is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight any more than fruit ripens overnight. But as James concluded in verse 4 patience helps us to become perfect and complete.
Let me issue a challenge but fair warning, it’s going to be a serious work out. You will sweat, often cringe in pain or frustration and you might even cry because it’s so difficult. But you will be cut, you’ll have a spiritual 8 pack to die for.
This is the challenge. Pray a prayer for patience; be ready to let go of your road rage, temper tantrums and being first in line but say hello to peace, patience and hope. People will look at you with shock and awe as you exhibit the high moral behavior that comes with developing patience. Shine a light into the darkness as your patience stands out like a beacon of hope.
Remember, it is the Lord who is the author and finisher of our faith. He does the work through His grace. We just have to be willing to be made perfect!
My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, That they may dwell with me; He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me. ~ Psalm 101:6
Psalm 138:8 ~ The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.