7 Feb 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
If you were to scale your patience on 1 to 100, what would you say? Would you say that you are a patient person or an impatient person?
Before we decide, let us define the meaning of patience. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, patience mean ‘the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.’
So, how many of us would say that we are patient? By the time we step into our car, our patience is already tested. Would you be patient with the slow-moving car in front of you, which cause you to miss your turn at the traffic light? How about waiting for the next elevator because the last two elevators you waited for were full?
Our patience is tested at a time of inconvenience and discomfort. And when these situations happened, do we choose to patiently endure in love or respond with anger, frustration, and complains? With that said, not complaining shows patience as well. In fact, a person who does not complain is so outstanding that Apostle Paul likened him or her to the shining star in the sky (Phil 2:14-16a)!
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among the like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life (Phil 2:14-16a).
This comes as no surprise in today’s complaining culture. Not complaining in the midst of suffering, speaks volumes of a person’s character. In fact, whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered shows foolishness (Prov 14:29). More importantly, patience through suffering builds character and gives hope in our lives (Romans 5:3-4). No wonder the Bible prizes patience! The meaning of love starts with patience (1 Cor 13:4-7) and the fruit of the Holy Spirit includes patience as well (Gal 5:22).
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance (patience); perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4)
So, how do we exactly learn and build patience? 2 Tim 2:22 give us a clue.
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim 2:22)
This verse tells us the steps to build patience, which is to flee from sinful behaviors, and pursue godliness. In other words, we choose to leave behind our old ways, and pursue a new way. A good attitude can only be built when we separate ourselves from our old attitude to a new attitude. This process must happen hand-in-hand, in order for us to build a new attitude.
Hence, in the case of pursuing patience, we don’t only leave behind or rid ourselves of anger, frustration, malice, and selfish ways in us; we also pursue or put on generosity, forgiveness, self-control, faith, love, and peace. Only then, we can build the attitude of patience into our lives.
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Col 3:8-10)
Hebrews 12:1-2 also gives us the same message, whereby we are called to leave behind every sin and weight, and pursue Christ! In other words, again, leave behind our old ways and pursue a new way.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:1-2).
This process of building patience happens gradually and not overnight. If you find yourself on an uphill battle, do not give up! God sees the bigger picture and is patient with your growth (2 Pet 3:9).
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Pet 3:9)
Besides building our character, patience demonstrates our faith as well in God that He is in control, omnipotent, and powerful. This faith leans not on our own understanding but on our wholehearted trust in the Lord (Prov 3:5-6). We trust Him because His Ways are higher than our ways, and His Thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isa 55:9). Hence, because we trust in Him, we are still while waiting patiently for His Timing, Will, and Way (Psalm 37:7).
Waiting in a Christian life is normal and common. Abraham waited for 20 years before Isaac is born (Heb 6:15), Moses who wandered in the desert for 40 years before being led to the promised land, and finally Jesus ‘who for the joy set before him waited for his time and endured the cross (Heb 12:2).’ Much of our Christian walk waiting as well—waiting for the return of Christ and waiting to be His Bride.
And thanks to life, we have plenty of opportunities to build patience from the situations and people we meet alike. In fact, the Bible offers many practical solutions in dealing with people who may frustrate us (2 Tim 3:16-17). We are called to warn the idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, and help the weak; but in all this, have patience (1 Thes 5:14). In dealing with people with oppositions, we are called to avoid quarreling and being resentful with them but be kind, able to teach, and gently instruct them, so that they may come to their senses and know the truth, avoiding the snares of the devil (2 Tim 2:24-26). Also, if we are tempted to complain against a person, remember the many sins God has freely pardoned our sins, which motivates us to forgive him or her as well (Col 3:13).
Hence, the next time you encounter a situation or a person that test your patience, thank God for them because they are building your character! Don’t give up in your patience in doing good because at the proper time, we will see the results of our patience if we continue to persevere (Gal 6:9). Above all, be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).
References for pictures