What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word patience?
I am amazed at the patience of my dog each morning while she waits for me to get ready to take her for a walk. The Lord has used her patient response several times to convict me of my impatience. When our family is ready to leave in the morning for church, inevitably, one of the kids will say, “Oh wait, I need to get something.” I have difficulty displaying the calm patience of my dog!!!
Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Therefore, we can know that in order to successfully display this characteristic, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. As is true of any Christ-like quality, trying in our own effort to be patient will yield limited success. Some personalities will have an easier time with this than others. Those who are more goal-oriented, less flexible, time conscious and very busy may find it harder to be patient. When do you get the most impatient? When you are in a hurry? When others are blocking your goals? When others cannot understand you or see your point of view? When others do not do things your way? At times, displaying patience might need to be a higher priority than getting your task done on time or accomplishing your goals. This goes back to Philippians 2:4 which says: “look not only at your own interests but also to the interests of others.” This might mean that you will be late, not finish something that was supposed to be done, or not get your way. But if waiting patiently will bring glory to God and will be a testimony of His power, love, grace and patience, then it is worth the sacrifice. However, this should be considered with the fact that being thoughtful of others is also being on time and faithfully doing what you promised to do.
Sometimes we need to evaluate if we are doing too much and thus often running behind schedule. This will result in us becoming more impatient with others and less flexible with our time. If we allow more time to do things, we will find it easier to be patient. Ask the Lord to show you the root of your impatience. Is there some change He wants you to make in your attitude or your time management? Then each day this week, ask His Spirit to fill you with patience and lead you in your decision making.