Hello Church Devotion Aug.18, 2013

P is for Patience

“A Patient man has great understanding, but a quick tempered man displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29 NIV84

Wait for it. I will get to it in a second. Almost there, just hang in there for a little bit longer. Many of you can relate to these or similar statements that at times can seem excruciating? It is not easy to wait for things especially when it might be holding us up from finishing something else. At times if you are like me you probably find yourself getting angry at the unexpected events that slow us up. Unexpected traffic, that never causes the temper to flare, right? What about being late because a friend or spouse isn’t quite ready on time? Patience is something that we hear about often and seem to lose quickly.

Patience is however more than just dealing with events relative to time. It is about working through things together and seeing correction, growth, and maturity come to fruition. Patience is a gift from God. Galatians 5:22 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law (emphasis added).” Patience is not easy but it is something we don’t have to find or seek out on our own. We should find comfort in God’s word from Galatians that God gives us patience as a gift through the fruit of his Spirit. But like many of God’s gifts, we sometimes reject it and choose the way of sinfulness. So although we don’t find it we must allow God to train us in the way we should go and teach us how to be patient.

Sometimes you probably find yourself wondering if you should continue to be patient with an individual. Maybe it is the clerk in a checkout line that just doesn’t seem to be moving. Or it could be someone who continues to say one thing but does not honor their commitment. The reality is we need to at that moment remember where patience comes from and how it has been demonstrated to us. What if God became short tempered and quick to anger? What if he decided to not be patient with us and cast us out from his presence because of our unworthiness? Instead we have a God who in spite of our sin, took our place, and paid the price for our debt so that we might be forgiven and righteous in his sight. Romans 5:6-8 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God teaches us to walk with one another in love as he does with us. He teaches us to be patient and kind while helping us through adversity. These are the things God daily does with us as we continue to struggle with sin as forgiven children of God. He calls us to imitate him in Ephesians 4:1-2, “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” You know that there will be mistakes along the way. All you have to do is look at your own actions to realize this. Christ has called us to treat others not just how you want to be treated but to treat others how He treats them. Christ is patient, he is kind, and he does not envy or boast. As you go through each day take time to be reminded of the gift God has given to each of you through the waters of baptism. He gave you his Spirit, and with that Spirit comes the fruit of the Spirit. Patience is a gift and it is something we can all share with those around us as Christ demonstrates to us through his love each and every day.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for another day of being patient with me. Lord I know I fall short of your ways each day and yet you still promise forgiveness of my sins through your Son Jesus. Lord, as you have gifted us through your Spirit with patience and so much more, please help me not to reject your ways but to be led by you. Help me to show patience in all circumstances, with my children, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone that I might come into contact with. Help me to remember the patience you show me every day and to try and treat others as you treat each of us. I ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Further Thoughts:

1. How is God patient with you?

2. How might you exercise being patient with others more?

3. If it’s a gift from God why is it so difficult to live with patience during the day to day events of life?