What first comes to mind when you think of patience? As a mother, my first thought is having patience with my children. Then I think of being patient with my husband. Next, I think of patience with cashiers, waitresses, and the doctor’s office or in line at the post office.
- the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
What about when you have to call a company customer service line on the phone? Talk about stretching your patience! “No one is available to answer your call. Please hold; someone will be with you shortly.”
What about waiting for your computer to boot up? (Do you click the mouse harder thinking you can hurry up the process?) How do you handle restaurant lines? Waiting in traffic? Have you ever had to wait on hospital lab results?
We live in an instant society. We expect results instantly and effortlessly. Pizza delivery in 30 minutes or less, microwaved meals in seconds, one-hour film development, instant Ebook deliveries, instant information from the World Wide Web. It seems like the faster our world goes, the more impatience we experience.
Have you seen the Visa commercial? Dozens of people checking out in perfect split-second choreography until someone pauses to write a check, then the whole place falls apart.
Flesh vs Spirit
We exhibit patience when we are walking in the Spirit. When we are walking according to our flesh (sinful nature) we exhibit impatience. Impatience causes frustration, irritability, and anger. In fact, anger is a direct consequence of losing our patience. Think about road rage. The more patience we have, the less irritation and anger we experience.
Perfect patience is not developed all at once. We need to be patient with ourselves to grow in patience! A farmer knows he must wait for harvest time. An impatient child would pick the half-ripe fruit, but the farmer knows to wait for the proper time, allowing for sunshine, rain and growth. We also experience spiritual growth (fruit) under the law of gradual growth. It does not come instantly but grows as we increase in our knowledge of God.
We must be patient that we will walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col 1:10)
Learning from Impatience
When we lose our patience we can grow from it by doing a little detective work. Ask yourself why you lost your patience? What pushed your button? Was it because the person didn’t act the way you would act? Frustration can be rooted in an inability to accept the way God has created a person (we all know men and women think and act differently.) Could it be rooted in pride? Do you feel more valuable than the other person?
If you spend time analyzing why you didn’t have more patience, you will see an area of your life you need to give to God.
This is the secret of patience and all the fruits of the Spirit—taking the focus off yourself and focusing on Him. Tell God you can’t do it, you want Him to take over. Be the branch and allow Him to flow through you.
You did not choose me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in my name he may give to you. John 15:16
Once you are abiding in Him, the next thing you know you discover fruit! We don’t produce fruit; we discover it. One day you will walk away from a nasty situation and realize “Wow, I didn’t lose it. I didn’t even raise my voice.” That, beloved, is fruit. You have been granted the incredible privilege of allowing God to work through you.
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12)
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. . . and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.” Psalms 40:1-3.
The Bible has many dramatic stories about patience. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years waiting to get into the Promised Land. Jacob waited fourteen years before winning the hand of Rachel, his beloved. Jesus waited forty days in the desert tempted by the devil. Paul waited over and over to be released from prison.
When we wait patiently on God, we honor Him because we are allowing Him to have His way and His timing in our lives. It is the highest expression of faith in His righteousness. This patience is fruit of God’s Spirit in losing of our self-will for His perfect will. Andrew Murray beautifully explains in Waiting on God :
Seek not only the help, the gift, seek Himself; wait for Him. Give God His glory by resting in Him, by trusting Him fully, by waiting patiently for Him. This patience honors Him greatly. It leaves Him, as God on the throne, to do His work. It yields self wholly into His hands. It lets God be God.
Waiting on God teaches us to trust the fullness of His timing. Our home has been on the market on and off for over two years. We are now making two mortgage payments. When we can’t control something or see the future we learn to trust. We move beyond self-reliance to trusting God. What a wonderful opportunity! Waiting opens us to vulnerability but also to spiritual growth. Waiting on Him makes us stronger, better, and happier.
When we have to wait without knowing the answers, without knowing what’s ahead, we are nudged into a new perspective and learn to grow in patience. I know that God has a perfect timing for the sale of our home because He never, ever fails me. He always works out everything for the best in every situation. All the times I have ever worried, was time wasted. Every time I wait on Him, things always turn out better than I could imagine.