The first attribute of love is patience (1 Cor 13:4 NIV). Have you ever had someone rush you? It feel good, did it? It’s offensive and it can make you feel like a “slow” person.
In this fast-paced, I-can’t-wait-I-want-it-now world, impatience is a normal thing, but we as sons and daughters of God must be different. When patience is displayed in us it’s an indication of the Holy Spirit at work. When we’re patient with other people we show God’s love.
But when we huff and puff at someone or something that isn’t going as fast as we would like, we’re operating in the flesh and this is sin; but we may not call it sin.
We may not consider impatience to be a sin, but God considers it so. Our father is patient and his children must learn to be likewise.
Be patient with your God
If anyone knows anything about our Father, it’s that he can take his time to answer prayer. We need God’s guidance, solutions, and understanding and this often comes at a time when he sees fit. If we’re not willing to wait, we miss what he has for us. Oh, how precious God is and we miss him because of impatience?
It’s like being a child again and skipping morning breakfast because it takes too long to cook it. When my momma used to make those buttermilk pancakes, sausage patties, and eggs, I patiently waited for the moment I could feast. Likewise, with our Father, he wants to give us his daily bread — his word for the day, but we seem to not have the time to wait and receive it. We rush out on an empty stomach and we wonder why we’re spiritually weak.
Next time, get up earlier, make plenty of time for the Father and be nourished by his word for the day, then you’ll be better off spiritually and able to handle the rest of the day ahead. Wait for his answers, solutions, and understanding, and while you do, thank him for the privilege and honor to commune with him. Everyone doesn’t have access to the one and only almighty God in heaven. And just know, he’s the author of time, it’s not like he’s going to let you miss something important while you’re waiting for him.
As a witness to the world
How many times have to you been in a long line at the grocery store? Have you ever went to the pizza joint for a “Hot-n-Ready” but it was neither hot or ready? And let’s not even talk about a visit to the Secretary of State!
These situations try our patience, but these are times when we can show the love of Christ and stand out from the crowd. While everyone is huffing and puffing and rushing the service providers, we can show our virtue. I’ve often found a blessing in deciding to be patient in advance. When knowing there will be a wait, patience has often got me through the process a lot quicker than I’d anticipated. On the flip side, if I come in the flesh — in impatience — I often end up waiting even longer.
Expressing impatience does nothing for that situation but make it worse. Patience is defined as To endure affliction with calmness. To be tolerant, understanding, suffering long. Since patience is love: love doesn’t make a fuss. Love stays calm. Love tries to understand the situation.
Even though the situation can be afflicting, we tolerate it and we stay calm. We don’t make faces and noises with our mouths. We don’t make comments that offend the workers who are just trying to do their job with the resources they’ve been given.
If you have a problem with being patient in situations like I mentioned, I encourage you to do something supernatural. Next time, when everyone else is tripping in the line about the one teller at the bank, you can stay calm, put a smile on your face and once you reach the teller, give them some words of encouragement. The love of Christ in action will benefit that person who may be under stress from a hard workday with rude and impatient people. Be a blessing by being patient.
Often times, it’s the manager who’s the one responsible for the slow service. Some managers deliberately hire fewer people to save money. In some cases, the business is under-staffed, or someone just quit thus making it hard for the rest of the team. Understanding helps a whole lot and can lessen the affliction, but being calm even when we don’t know what’s going is the right attitude and it blesses those folks who don’t normally receive love in those kinds of situations.
Be patient with yourself
I often get upset with the rate of my spiritual growth. I can become so impatient that I drop everything and become stagnant, as a result, I don’t advance at all. My impatience stops me from growing, but being patient keeps me moving even though it’s not at the pace I would want. I have to understand that I’m a complex being that takes time to mature. If God isn’t rushing me, I most surely shouldn’t be rushing myself.
Patience for the godly and godless
The elderly, children, neighbors, colleagues, coworkers and those who don’t have Christ can be sinful at times. They don’t have love and it doesn’t exist in their world. So we can’t expect them to love, and we can’t expect them to be patient. However, what they need is the love of Christ, we can give them that by having patience with them.
As Christians, we are to be patient with our brothers and sisters for they too make mistakes. It takes time for us to grow and there will be offenses. The difference between the sinner and the Christian is that the sinner can’t help but sin, but the Christian doesn’t mean to (Rom 7), therefore we forgive both anyway. No one likes to be treated as a lost cause or shunned for the past mistakes they’ve made especially if they’ve repented and confessed their sin. These kinds of responses don’t help them mature, but actually, discourage and make a person feel as if they can’t grow. When our brothers and sisters fall, these are the times to extend grace and patience. These are the perfect times to show the Love of God.
A few blessings of patience
Well, we may not be impatient with people or with God, but we still may want things to go a little faster than they’re going. Here are a few examples of the benefits of patience:
How God has been teaching me patience.
Car vs. the bus
A few years ago, my car broke down. Being unable to repair it for financial reasons, I donated it away. Since then I had to either take the bus or a cab. The slow bus system in Detroit has taught me patience. What would usually take me 7-20 minutes in my own car now took 30 minutes to an hour by bus. It trips me out to see people complain about a 10 to 20-minute trip because they fail to realize the convenience and privilege of their own vehicle. They’re so used to speed and control they’ve lost their patience.
I challenge auto owners to put their car in the garage for the month and wait for the bus. Afterward, they’ll respect their vehicle all the more; and their attitude toward slow drivers and traffic jams will change. When I take a cab after frequent bus service, I feel the privilege. 30 minute to hour long travel does not bother me anymore, I’ve developed more patience.
Cooking vs. takeout and TV dinners
After I moved into my own place, I decided not to buy a microwave, but instead buy whole foods. It takes me anywhere from 20 minutes to a whole hour to prepare food for myself sometimes. It takes time, but I’ve learned patience. The benefits are knowing what’s in the food as opposed to consuming stuff made by someone else. It’s a lot easier to just buy a pre-made dinner, pop it in the microwave and voila! an instant meal, but it’s not worth the expense to my health.
Also, when I do decide to bake those not so healthy treats like cookies and cakes, I can see the amount of sugar and butter I put in them. Now, when I go to the supermarket, I can almost see myself, swallowing a whole cup of sugar if I buy that cake or those cookies because I know what’s in it. Patience has helped me to eat better and to make wiser food choices.
There are blessings and benefits in patience. Good things take time. If you want the best, you have to wait for it.
How to be patient:
- Think about God’s mercy and patience when he deals with our sins.
- Ask the Holy Spirit for the power to be patient (Galatians 5:22).
- Learn to wait and see the fruit of your wait.
- Meditate on scriptures about patience.
- Understand the slow situation.
- Proverbs 14:29
A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
- Romans 12:12
Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.
- Romans 15:1
If our faith is strong, we should be patient with the Lord’s followers whose faith is weak. We should try to please them instead of ourselves.
- Romans 15:5
God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 4:12
We work hard with our own hands, and when people abuse us, we wish them well. When we suffer, we are patient.