2 Peter 1:5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
Patience is one of those attributes can only be acquired by persistent practice– and for me it’s something I have to practice over, and over, and over again!
Here's what Webster’s dictionary says about patience: “the suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness, from a kind of heroic pride, or from a Christian submission to the divine will.”
There are several things about this definition that caught my attention – first, “endurance without murmuring”. I was reminded of yesterdays traffic jam… there I was, fussing and fuming out loud over this "inconvenience". After more minutes than I'd like to admit, I finally "woke up" to the realization that this was yet one more opportunity to practice patience without murmuring.
The next thing that really stood out to me was, “a Christian submission to the divine will.” Think about all the times are we placed in a difficult or “impossible” situation. Maybe you're dealing with a difficult person. Several years ago when my husband's job was eliminated I went to work selling cosmetics in a department store. What I thought would be a dream job for this girly girl, quickly turned into an opportunity to learn how to deal with a VERY difficult counter manager. She hurled insults laced with profanity my way 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. My first reaction was to feel beat down, beat up and down right abused. After the realization that this indeed was a opportunity to submit to my heavenly Father's will, I was able to get on with the work of practicing patience. Not only are these circumstances in our lives an opportunity to grow in patience, to learn to submit to God’s providential will, they are also an opportunity to minister to those "difficult" people. After many months of practice, my boss softened her heart and her language. While the story didn't end with the two of us becoming BFF's, after seven months the Lord did move me out of that job and opened the door for me to practice patience in a different environment.
Friend, is your patience being tested today? Let me encourage you! The Lord is training you toward godliness –- and godliness is moving toward perfect love. Our heavenly Father wants to work this quality into our character now -– for His glory!
Will you share your story of practicing patience with us and the lessons you are learning?