When was the last time that you lost your patience? What caused it? Was it an irritating interaction or a lengthy waiting period that pushed you to your limit? Most people in our world today know that patience is important. You don’t have to be a believer to say that “patience is a virtue” but what makes it so important? Why should we value and even strive to have patience? As believers, patience is a vital part of our influence and our assurance. Without it, we are in danger of losing both.
In Prov. 22:24-25, Solomon stresses the importance of patience by showing us the consequences of being impatient. He says, “Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself.” Impatience rubs off on others. Solomon gives the instruction not even to hang around those who are impatient because of the negative effects their influence can have. This is a convicting concept to digest especially when we consider what our kids or grandkids are picking up from us when they see and hear our reactions to people and situations. Impatience breeds impatience. If this is true then I believe the opposite must be true. If we are not to associate with those who impatiently fly off the handle then naturally, we should associate with those who are patient because this is what will rub off on us. Patience is important because it is influential and contagious. Our patience or impatience has the power to change our environments and shape those who are watching us. This is why we strive for patience.
We value patience because of what it says of our relationship with the Lord. If patience is present within us this serves as a reminder that we know and love Him. In Eph. 5:1, Paul gives this instruction, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” The motivation for our imitation is love. In Rom. 2:4, Paul describes the Lord as being “rich in patience.” If we are striving to be like God then we are striving to be patient just like our Father is. Is there evidence of patience in your life? This is good reason to know that you love the One who is rich with it. It is also support that you know Him. Solomon showed us that association can be influential so what should happen if we spend time with the Lord? We should see the effects of knowing Him in our behavior, including our patience. John says in 1 John 2:5b-6, “By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” We know that we know Him if we see the same patience at work in us as Jesus displayed in His walk.
None of this is possible without the work of the Lord within us. Jesus made it clear in John 15 that God desires to see the “fruit” of our love and knowledge of Him in our lives but Jesus also showed that we can do nothing apart from Him. If we want patience we must go to Jesus. We must look to Him to work within our hearts to develop this virtue within us by the work of the Holy Spirit. In Gal. 5, Paul shows us that “patience” is a “fruit of the Spirit.” Another word that we can use for “fruit” is “evidence”. As we’ve seen patience is evidence that we love our Father and that we are following in the footsteps of His Son but this “fruit” also acts an indicator of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us, producing what we cannot on our own. If we are seeing patience at work where it never was before, this should serve as blessed assurance of our relationship with the Trinity. If we are not seeing patience, then we have reason to go to the One whom we can confess our impatience to with the promise that He will forgive us and preform the work that is needed to make us who He wants us to be.
Praying For Patience In You And I, Pastor Rudy