In the fast-paced world we live in today, patience seems to be an afterthought. Our entire society thrives on competing to be the first person to do something bigger, better, and faster. I definitely know that I am guilty of being impatient; when things don't go my way, I always try and find a better, faster way to reach my goal. But while the world's plan for us may be to always find the faster way, God's plan for us to find His way-- the better way. Don't get me wrong, waiting for God to reveal His plans to us isn't easy. As humans, it's in our nature to want immediate solutions and results. However, as Galatians 5:22 tells us, when we lean on God and seek His way, He produces patience in our lives that allows us to live in Him.
So how do we begin to produce patience in our lives?
1) Lean on God.
While I asked how do we produce patience in our lives, it's actually God who produces fruit in our lives, not us. If we were to just wake up one day and decide that we were going to be patient with everyone that day, we would surely fail. I, for example, once arbitrarily decided that I wouldn't eat any chocolate for a month; I lasted about two weeks. While that's a silly example, we can use it here too. Relying on our own sinful natures is unproductive; our willpower can only last for so long. However, when we focus on Christ and meditate on how He is patient with us, it becomes easier to walk with Him and to allow Him to produce patience in our own lives.
"So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy" (Colossians 1:9-11).
Like peace, the key to having patience is surrender. While I'll be the first to admit that giving up control of my life is hard, God makes us promises in the Word that can give us hope. Ephesians 1:11 tells us that "we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to His plan. This part of the verse is key. We often forget that bit because we want God to work in our lives in a way that pleases us or serves our purpose. So yes, while things might work out, they might not be in the way you expect or desire, but in the end, it will serve to glorify Him, and that’s what matters. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that "we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Throughout the Word, God constantly assures us that we can find trust in Him if we are willing to surrender. While relying on ourselves often results in failure, leaning on God results in everlasting life.
2) Combat Anger with Love.
With impatience often comes anger. When people are impatient, they often overreact and attack others. I can't even imagine the amount of times when I've become impatient with people and gotten angry-- aka every group project ever. Anger usually involves a spiteful attitude. However Romans 12:14 tells us to "bless those who persecute you" and to "pray that God will bless them." Furthermore, Romans 13:10 tells us that "love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law."
A great example of combating anger with love is in our relationships. I have really been struggling with my relationships with others for years. When I become super stressed or if life isn't going my way, I tend to take it out on the people I love most. I get extremely irritable, impatient, and ultimately shut people out of my life because I think my way is right, and everyone else's is wrong. However, I am constantly realizing in all different sorts of situations that having patience and managing relationships is essential to being at peace. When we love one another and are patient with one another, we not only strengthen our relationships with God, but also with each other. We become unified under Him.
3) Fulfill the bottom line.
We are so blessed to serve a God of grace and mercy. Even though we constantly screw up and run away from God, His love remains steadfast, and He continues to pursue us, regardless of our offenses against Him.
"The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the Heavens above the Earth" (Psalm 103:8-11).
With that being said, as Christians, our spiritual role boils down to one fundamental responsibility: to be "the salt of the earth" and "live as people of the light." (Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:8). In other words, we are to set an example and live a Godly life by being patient with others, as He is patient with us.
"Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must cloth yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others" (Colossians 3:12-13).
Peace and patience, in my opinion, are character traits that go hand in hand and are both indescribably important. While human nature is filled with hateful and selfish tendencies, God's is the opposite in that He is all-loving and merciful. When we allow ourselves to surrender to Him, we also allow ourselves to find peace and patience that wasn't possible before. This week, I really encourage you guys to think about how impatience has affected your life and really call out to God and delve into the Word. Just watch how He never fails to fulfill His promises to us if we are willing to chase after Him like He chases after us. God bless, & sleep easy fam.
SUMMING IT ALL UP:
- Patience requires that we lean on God.
- Patience means combating anger with love.
- Having patience fulfills our bottom line.