The Role Patience Plays

But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.
James 1:4NKJV

For something to be ‘perfect’ it has to be 100%, it has to be complete. So for patience to work you need to let it work till it’s complete—all 100% of it. You can’t decide half way through ‘Well, this just isn’t working, let me try it MY way.’

Have you ever thought that maybe we actually decide what we want to be patient about? I mean, I would say I have immense patience when patients at work ‘push’ me to a limit. Or when waiting for public transport or queuing up to order a delicious chocolate soufflé at Max Brenner. At those times, I’m patient.

But after getting frustrated with myself for things I personally did, I realised I have patience with others but it turned out I had no patience with myself.
Here I am, trying to learn to be a better person—for myself and for those close to me. And I’m getting frustrated that I stuffed up—over and over and over again.

It’s important to put people before ‘things’—we need to invest our patience in people that build us up and help us grow. If there are three things we need to prioritise when being patient it’s the following—and this is where patience has her perfect work:

1. GOD

So many verses in the Bible talk about ‘patiently waiting’ on the Lord. When we seek God, we are practising patience because seeking God means praying, worshipping, reading our Bibles. When seeking God we are finding Him. We are looking for Him. It’s like playing ‘Hide and Seek’—when you go looking for someone, you may have looked around the bedroom multiple times but couldn’t find that person anywhere, so you start to wonder: ‘Well, I’ve looked everywhere else, where are they?’ Turns out they were in that bedroom under the bed the whole time.

God doesn’t hide from you because He’s already there. He’s just waiting for you to look under the bed but it takes patience to go into that room three or four times before realising where He actually is.

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13ESV

Be patient and wait for the Lord to act; don’t be worried about those who prosper or those who succeed in their evil plans. Psalm 37:7GNT

2. OURSELVES

We need to allow ourselves to YES, make mistakes if they happen. But also give ourselves time to create new and improved habits. And that’s where patience with ourselves comes in. I’m a culprit here… *raises hand*. I tend to be quite hard on myself when mistakes happen because in my head I believe you don’t have to make mistakes to learn. And although that is true to some degree, there will be days when it will happen. And when it does that’s where we overcome and put that patience to work—the patience that God has given us. That is called HIS grace. Because even though we fail, His grace is sufficient for us.

But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9NIV

Because even though we fail, His grace is sufficient for us

3. OTHERS

Best way to test whether we have been patient with ourselves is our patience with others. Again, in some cases I can attest to this. It’s easy to be short-tempered. But we can’t let that be an excuse. And chances are, the people that you encounter are probably frustrated that they let themselves or others down. Instead, be that example and show them what patience with yourself looks like. To love your neighbour is to demonstrate patience. Because love is patient.

‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these. Mark 12:31GWT

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.
1 Corinthians 13:4ESV

So next time you’re frustrated, angry, irritated, and confused—say to yourself: ‘No, I’m going to practice patience.’ And say that over and over again. As the saying goes, patience is a virtue (moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.)

Dippers and Dwellers

 

‘Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you.’ John 15:4 AMPC

When it comes to making instant tea, there are different methods to the art. You can dip your teabag up and down in the hot water and then pull it out. Or you can let it dwell there so that you can experience the tea’s full strength and flavour.

Jesus said: ‘Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.’ (John 15:4–5 AMPC)

The secret of victorious Christian living is not ‘dipping’ in God’s presence once a week in church, but ‘dwelling’ in it every day. That’s why this devotional is a helpful tool for your spiritual growth; it causes you to get into God’s Word each day, meditate on it, and ask, ‘Lord, what are You saying to me?’ When you’re a dipper, you’ve got to ‘make things happen’ by your own effort. You’ve got to move the bag up and down, wrap the string around the spoon, pull it out. That’s effort—and that’s not how God wants you to live the Christian life. No, He wants you to be a ‘dweller’. It’s the depth and duration of your dwelling that determines the strength and richness of your spiritual life. So decide today to be a dweller, not a dipper.

SoulFood: Mt 5:7, Mt 18:21–35, Ps 103:8–18, Lam 3:22–24

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Matthew 5:7 ()

()

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 18:21–35 ()

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21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Psalm 103:8–18 ()

()

  The LORD is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
  He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10   He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11   For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12   as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13   As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14   For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.
15   As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16   for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17   But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children's children,
18   to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.

Lamentations 3:22–24 ()

()

22   The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23   they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24   “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Sun 08 July, 2018


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