Sometimes you are in a hurry but God isn’t. That requires patience. Galatians 5:22 says patience is a fruit of the Spirit meaning all believers should possess it. Patience is more than waiting. It is waiting with Christlike character. If you are moody, negative, and inconsiderate you are not waiting patiently. Here’s the deal: you are going to have to wait anyway – why not do it in a way that honors the Lord and the people around you? If you find yourself being frustrated or irritated by the smallest of waits, God wants to develop more patience in you. If two people ahead of you at the ATM causes you to act unholy, patience is what you lack. If you become negative and foul because you are delayed 15 minutes due to traffic, you really need some patience. If you can’t display Christlikeness in the smallest of situations how do you expect to display it when healing doesn’t come instantly? What are you going to do when you still haven’t found a job after a year of looking intently? How are you going to respond when your spouse or child still aren’t acting right after years of prayer?
It’s been said true patience is waiting without worrying. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, where to you score when it comes to worrying during a wait? Patience isn’t a characteristic you gain by simply reading about it. You must be tested in it. You acquire patience by persistently enduring and practicing Christlike character. Webster’s dictionary says patience is endurance without murmuring. When you are faced with the smallest of waits that challenges your level of patience remember that is the prime opportunity to exercise Godliness and resist the temptation to complain and worry.
1 Corinthians 13:4 says love is patient. God desires to give you more than patience. He is training you toward godliness. 2 Peter 1:3-7 tells us gaining patience is really about growing in faith. It says God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We can escape the corruption of this world caused by human desires because of His promises. Adding patience, good character, discipline, perseverance, love and other attributes to our faith increase our godliness. Verse 8 tells us, “If we possess these qualities in increasing measure they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in Christ.” Did you see that? We should possess them in increasing measure. That means we should grow in them. If we don’t have them, verse 9 says we are nearsighted and blind and have forgotten that we have been cleansed from our past sins. Refusing to grow in patience says we refuse to grow in Christ and recall all He has done for us.
I, too, struggle in patience from time to time. The condition of my waiting is sometimes dishonoring to God and those around me. I often think what if I displayed my level of patience as one of the Bible characters? Instead of waiting on the seventh day like Joshua I would have tried to get into Jericho the first day through the front door. If I were Moses I may have swam across the Red Sea. If I were David I may have gone into battle with the wrong weapons and bypassed some rocks and a slingshot. I may have messed up their lives and legacy by being impatient. But I am me and God desires me to be patient to accomplish what He has in store in my life. Hebrews 6:15 says, “And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.” I desire to be a patient person whose waiting honors the Lord. I desire to trust God in His timing. The only way to be patient in problems is to trust God through them. James 1:2-4 reminds us the testing of our faith produces endurance that leads to a perfect man, lacking nothing. I pray you won’t allow your problems to frustrate you and bring you down but produce patience in you which will calm and mold you into God’s image.