Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I came across this scripture the other day. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 reads, Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. In this passage, Paul is instructing the people of the church in Thessalonica in some of the ways they should act. He encourages them to try to teach those who behave badly to change their actions. He tells the church to comfort those who are afraid, and to defend those who are weak. He then adds that we should be patient with everyone.

I was doing pretty well until he dropped “patient” in there. Part of what I do for a living is teaching people how to act as a Christian. I try to provide comfort for those who are afraid or are in the middle of a crisis. I will always stand up for those who do not have the courage or strength to do so themselves. Why did he have to add patience, when I was doing so well in all the other categories? When God was handing out patience, I apparently thought the line was too long and decided to not wait. I want things to happen when I want them to happen. I find it very hard to wait on anything.

If I am sitting in my car trying to turn left onto a busy road, I would rather turn right and travel 2 miles out of my way and then make a u-turn, than to sit and wait on an opportunity to turn left. If someone asks to meet with me later to discuss something, I want to know what it concerns right then.

However, I am pretty sure I’m not in the minority on this. I thinkwe are all less patient than we used to be. In this “instant gratification” society that we live in, we have become a nation of impatient, hurried people. We get up in the morning, to the sound of our alarm clocks. The coffee maker has already made the coffee. We grab something out of the freezer and throw it in the microwave for breakfast or we drink our breakfast shake from a can. We put on wrinkle-free clothes so we won’t have to iron. Get into our cars and speed so we won’t be late to work. Get to work and try to endure until lunch. We then go to a drive-thru where we are upset if it takes more than 3 minutes to get our food, and rush back to work. Get the idea? We have many time-saving things in our lives, but we are more impatient than ever!

Why is this? Could it be that it is not a “time” problem, but a “spiritual” one? In Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter all exhort us to be patient with others, but more importantly, with God. Doesn’t it stand to reason, if the Word of God has that much to say about patience, that we should heed His instruction?

Whenever we get out of sync with God in any aspect of life, the part where we are failing is the part where we experience God’s presence the least. If we are not in God’s will in certain actions, He will be there, but He will be hard to see or feel. Therefore, because we have taken that aspect of our life from Him, He lets us feel the effects of our sinfulness.

We all have the same amount of time each day. We all have certain goals and objectives that we want to meet. However, when we do not give these things over to God, it creates a crisis for us. Crisis results in frustration and frustration results in a lack of patience. We want to make others the scapegoat for our own lack of spiritual maturity. Think about it. When was the last time you were impatient with yourself? Aren’t you most times impatient with someone else? Being impatient, therefore, is blaming someone else for your problem and that, my friend, is sin.

If we are indeed children of God, then we must try to emulate Him. We need to cultivate a personality of kindness, gentleness, understanding and patience. So the next time that person in the car in front of you sits through the green light, pray for them and thank God for granting you a moment to slow down and talk to Him.

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. (James 5:7-9 NIV)
Jeff Allen on patience

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