Last week I wrote about gentleness and how we should respond when we experience the moral deficiencies of a fellow believer. Today's character quality is PATIENCE.
God's patience is referenced all the time - Numbers 14:18, Psalm 86:15, Nahum 1:3, Romans 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 are just a sampling. Throughout Scripture, God withholds judgment and extends mercy in patient love.
In the Old Testament, God is sometimes portrayed as a wrath-slinging deity void of patience, but all you need to debunk that portrayal is a list of Old Testament messengers. Prophet after prophet after prophet after prophet after prophet after prophet (you get the idea) come to Israel, essentially saying the exact same thing as the one before. Only a God of patient love would continue to offer His children a chance to repent and change.
And, of course, there's no better example of patience than Jesus Christ. God became a man and was willing to walk so deeply beneath his dignity, patiently teaching the foolish disciples, patiently rebuking the hard-hearted Pharisees, and patiently loving the tax collectors and prostitutes.
In the same way, God calls you to be patient with your fellow believers. Like I said last week, you'll walk with Christians who have glaring weaknesses, and you'll live with family members who fail to live in accordance with the Bible.
When you experience the sin, weakness, and failure of a spouse, child, friend, or minister, you shouldn't ignore it. But it's not your right or your calling to lash out and say, "Just quit it already!"
It won't be easy to be patient; I struggle with patience everyday. But here are 3 things I tell myself when I'm feeling low on patience:
1. God extends His patience to me everyday: (those who are generous with patience know that they've generously received patience from the Lord)
2. Change is a process, not an event: (it's rare for a believer to have victory over areas of sin immediately and forever)
3. The God of Patience now lives inside me by His Spirit: (I don't have the power to be patient, but Jesus does, and He is with me)
Paul David Tripp
- What mistakes do you continue to make over and over again?
- How is the Lord patient with your mistakes?
- In your own life, how do you know that change is a process and not an event?
- Why is it so difficult to be patient with others?
- What are some steps you can take to grow in patience?