“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – James 1:2 KJV
Oh, Patience. You are a high commodity these days. One of the most popular prayers requests, but one of the least practiced. Impatience can manifest in many situations…especially everyday occurrences, such as traffic, long lines, or inconveniences.
Another word for patience is Long-suffering: having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.
Oh…other people. You mean other people wear your patience?
It doesn’t matter who it is…family, spouse, friend, coworker…even strangers work our nerves and test us.
When I reflect on how Jesus handled these types of situations in the Bible, I have to say, it motivates me. An enemy was in his close circle of friends for 3 years. Judas, the one who would sell him out and seal it with a kiss. Jesus knew this. But He displayed patience with him, and loved him knowing what would happen.
If we want to live out patience, we must mirror ourselves after Jesus. We must pattern ourselves after His character and behavior towards others. Even our enemies.
How do we live it out?
Remember that God is patient with you. Judas wasn’t the only one who would betray Jesus. Peter wasn’t the only one who would deny Him. We all have turned away at one point. According to Hebrews 6:6, when we fall away, we are crucifying Him all over again. He still shows mercy. He still chose to die for us, foreseeing all of this. So we must see others through His eyes and show mercy and love. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
Grow thicker skin. Jesus goes so far as to say allow a person to slap you 77 times and turn the other cheek. This is a tough one to swallow for many. It takes maturity and self control to refrain from retaliating. We don’t want to ruin our opportunity to shine the light of Jesus in a person’s life because our feelings remain hurt. “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11
Don’t give up. God has placed within us a certain measure of faith. Bearing with one another means not throwing up our hands and giving up on someone. Change takes time and we must learn not to become frustrated and walk away. We may miss seeing change come to fruition in someone’s life. God has perfect timing, but we don’t always know when it will happen. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9
As always, stay close to Jesus. Learn from His meekness. He is the Lamb of God and was the perfect example of patience throughout His life, even His persecution.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43