(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Patience…is a virtue.
“I can’t believe our food is taking so long. We ordered 5 minutes ago!”
“Would you hurry up? I don’t have all day!”
“See if google maps has a quicker route. All I see is brake lights.”
“I think they’re ghosting me.” “How long ago did you text them?” “Like a minute.”
“Those people came in after me and they are already done. What gives?”
“Be patient.” (Parent to child who wants to go to the park…now!)
Anyone here struggle with patience? Great. Come back tomorrow and we’ll address it.
We all struggle with patience. We don’t like to wait. There are reasons for that…which we will look at tomorrow, but perhaps first it’s important to ask, “What is patience?”
We “lose” it. We become “impatient.” But what is patience?
Here’s a few perspectives:
First the Oxford dictionary defines patience as this: “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
Second, one of the Hebrew phrases that is translated “patience” means “slow to flair the nostril.” Flaring the nostril was the picture one portrayed when they were angry. It is used of God and of people. So if one was “slow to flare the nostril” they were withholding their anger and giving people a chance to change their behavior and stave off the anger of God or the anger of another person.
Third, the Greek word means “long suffering.” Patience is not always easy. It can be VERY hard to wait for something. The time of waiting can be emotional suffering, spiritual challenge or even physical. Whenever suffering is involved, it makes sense that one would NOT want to linger in that state very long, but patience is lingering in a state of suffering for an indefinite period of time.
With these definitions of patience, it is no wonder that we don’t do patience very well on our own. Our emotions want to lash out in anger. Our survival instinct doesn’t want to linger in a state of suffering. So patience needs help outside of ourselves.
Which is why it is listed in Galatians 5:22 as a fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is…patience.” We can not do the things of God (in this case, patience) without the Spirit of God. The great blessing in this too as we are called as God’s people to exhibit patience, we have the help of the Spirit of God to do that which God asks.
Patience is also a key characteristic of love. In fact it is listed first in Paul’s discussion of what love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4. “Love is patient.” As with so many things in the Scripture to which God calls us, patience is NOT about us. It is about another person or our relationship with God. When we are patient and avoid flaring the nostril, it is an expression of love, just like (as we will see in later devotions this week) God showed his love for us in his patience with us.
So do we pray for patience? I’ve heard people say, “Don’t pray for patience…God will give you opportunity to develop it!” So true…however, I will not discourage us to pray for patience as it is a gift of God, a fruit of his Spirit and a reflection of his love. I don’t know about you, but if it’s all that, I’d love more of it!
Apply: What areas of life are a trigger for impatience? Is it a trigger for anger? Or is it a desire not to suffer?
Prayer: Lord, we boldly pray for patience and we accept the situations you will give us to develop and mold patience within us. AMEN.