Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Virtues of March: Patience

Virtues of March: Patience
Author's Character Series
Net's Notation Tuesdays

Okay, show of hands: Who cringes just a little (or more than a little) when the word patience comes up in terms of our character as Christians? Me! (My hands goes up.) I see those hands.

They say you shouldn’t pray for patience because then the trials come, but I have some news for you: you get tried either way. Case in point, I don’t remember praying for patience before my first daughter was born so long ago, but guess what? Prayer for that virtue to manifest in my life or not, lessons in patience began in earnest before she was even born.

So, since it’s unavoidable, let’s discuss patience shall we?

How well do you handle waiting, or disappointment, or irritants? I brought this up last week, but as I’m writing this, we’ve had our new dog for about a week. Busy little guy. Chews on socks, doesn’t always follow commands, barks at family members. In short, tries my patience. It’s like having a perpetual two year old.

Just when you think you have patience mastered, something comes along and upsets that belief.

Patience is directly tied to hope. And hope helps us bear trials patiently.

And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience,
and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

As with so many fruits of the Spirit, we have to cooperate to see this virtue take root in our lives. I think one of the reasons this is so tough is because we think we have rights. Or we think we can control everything in our lives, then something comes along which we cannot, and we are thrown.

So, we have to remember:

~God’s in control.

~He’s working.

~He’s good and His deeds are always good.

~He is motivated by love.

~ A lack of patience is bondage, and it doesn’t glorify Him.

When others see patience in our character they know: 1) here’s a mature believer, 2) here’s someone who trusts God, 3) God must be real.

They are drawn to Him.

Patience is a work only God can do in us. This is isn’t the same thing as self-control, which we will cover later this month. This is a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, shaping our characters, helping us be more like Jesus.

Okay, now that I’ve typed all that, it’s time to go pray for God’s grace in this area of my own life. Good news (I think): we'll get plenty of practice on this one!

Patience—a virtuous part of the author’s character.

And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God,
and into the patience of Christ. (2 Thess 3:5)

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