E – ATTRIBUTES OF A CHRISTIAN – 5
“Lord, give me patience and give it right now.” Probably you have heard this statement in jest and yet, so often we mean it. Patience is something we all need. We may have a small amount until we cannot stand it any longer and poof—what do we do. Scripture gives us examples and exhortation regarding patience. Many problems of life in this world come from a lack of patience.
Patience includes suffering, enduring, or waiting. As in the case of other attributes, patience comes with a determination of the will. It is an attribute for which a Christian works and grows. It definitely is a contrast and visible to the world.
We are told to wait for the Lord. Ps.40:1 This psalm gives the results when David waited on the Lord. Sometimes we pray and can’t understand why our request is not answered when we think it should be. God knows when and how it is best for us. Wait patiently and develop our trust as we know He will do what is best. Ps.37:7 .The lack of patience of often associated with anger and pride. Eccl.7:8 One translation is “long of spirit.”
Our culture is so fast-paced. The market is filled with items that are “instant.” We “don’t have time.” “I can’t bother with that.” “Hurry up.” Other phrases could also indicate our lack of patience. Many outcomes of this lack occur today. Some would be “road rage,” anger causing divorce, child abuse, murder, loss of job, relationships. Anger is a great outcome of impatience and causes many atrocities. Our tongue can be controlled with patience. A consideration of the above makes patience of extreme importance.
Some word translations may give a clearer picture of all that is involved in patience. Jam.5:10,11 James reminds us first of the patience of the prophets. They prophesied by the inspiration of God of things they never did get to see come to pass and yet they endured suffering because of their prophecies. Job is given as another example of one who endured much suffering, yet was faithful and blessed because of it. Job was willing to learn in spite of suffering. Job.34:32 (stated by Elihu) After all was taken from Job, his response was Job 1;21,22 God blessed Job after his endurance and longsuffering. Job 42:10 Job is synonymous of patience.
Paul uses himself as an example of God’s patience. He calls this patience unlimited as Paul continued persecuting Christians. Yet in God’s unlimited patience, Paul was finally converted to serve the Lord. 1 Tim.1:16 How unlimited has God’s patience been with our past and perhaps even now.
Abraham was given a promise by God. Abraham waited with patience for years before that promise was fulfilled. He never lost faith during that time but that God would do what He said. Heb.6:13-15
As Christians do we expect to receive a reward immediately for what we do for the Lord? Our hope is built with patience for we wait for a greater reward than could ever be achieved on this earth. Heb.6:10-12 A farmer is used by James to illustrate patience. He plants the seed but then he must wait with patience to reap what he sowed. Jam.5:7 The slave that owed his master a large sum of money pleaded with him to have patience to be paid. In other words—wait. Matt.18:26
Paul admonishes the Thessalonians to be patient with everyone. This is more of a long-suffering rather than a waiting for them.1 Thess.5:14 In dealing with people in various relationships we need to be longsuffering as we realize that many times they need to be longsuffering with us. Patience with people involves several other Christian virtues.
Don’t we have more patience with those we love? The “royal law” quoted by Jesus includes loving your neighbor as yourself. As we have a sincere love for every person, we are able to have more patience with them. Rom.12:9; Lk.6:32; 1 Pet.1:22
Compassion is another virtue important in patience. If we can feel for that person in their situation, then we can have more patience with them. Col.3:12; Phil.2:1,2 The Lord shows great compassion on us and does not deal with us as we deserve. Ps.103:8-10 This is the attribute we need to show.
We will also have more patience with someone we get to know better. This will help us understand their problems and personality and perhaps give us a clue as to the problem that cause the need of patience with them. Prov.14:29
A Christian needs to have patience with everyone. Eph.4:2 Tolerance for one another will help our patience grow. This is indicative of forbearance. One of our goals should be to walk worthy of the Lord. The above are times that we must have patience as we have relationships with others
What about the times we need patience with those that are dealing with us? There are times when Christians do suffer wrong. Patience with prayer needs to be extended to and for them. 1 Pet.2:20,21; Matt.5:44 Christ was our example in this. If you are praying for someone, it is much easier to have patience with them. Prophets of old are also an example of patience in suffering. How strong is our endurance and forbearance for our Lord in times of wrong against us. Many times this is by way of mouth but many other ways are also used. Remember our Lord. Days of trouble may be ahead.
Sometimes we wrongly think, “I can’t help it” when we loose patience. Do we realize the help a Christian is given to maintain patience. Col.1:11 So with our former examples of faithful men of old with our Savior being in the forefront of examples, let us follow the admonition in Col.3:12,13