Learning Patience Leads to a Mature Faith
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”—Colossians 3:12 (NIV).
In a recent conversation with an acquaintance, we were discussing our grandchildren. We both questioned why we were more patient with them than we were with their parents. Yes, we are older, and hopefully have more wisdom, but does that mean patience follows? Not necessarily.
I’ve observed grandparents in public with some of their grands. Not all are calm when their children’s offspring act out. I’ve seen them lose their temper, yelling at a child until he or she begins crying.
It’s difficult not to judge their actions. Then, reminding myself I don’t know the whole story, a prayer often quietly leaves my lips.
Patience is a Virtue
The quote, “patience is a virtue,” is often credited to author William Langland in his 14th century poem, “Piers Plowman.” However, before Langland was ever conceived, the Bible talks about patience, both in the Old and New Testament.
Both the poem by Langland, and the scriptures, were written in a time when there were no smartphones, Internet, email, and other technology to frustrate us and make us lose our patience. Maybe it began before then. Think about it.
Before the microwave oven and fast food became popular, we were content to cook homemade meals and sit down for a family meal. As life has become more complicated, our patience has been stretched to the max. We want it, and we want it now.
When We Become Impatient
Synonymous for patient include the following: calm, forgiving, gentle, quiet, long-suffering, understanding, and tolerant. Do you see a pattern here when we think about our fast-paced, technologically-addicted society today?
Social media has become a battleground and a perfect example of a growing impatience in our society. It has led to division in our families, friendships, and our country. It’s sad and very disconcerting when people on both sides, even Christians, are unwilling to be civil, kind, and forgiving.
In Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG), it reads, “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
Choosing a Godly Wardrobe
How can we best face the chaos in our lives? How can we develop the virtues that lead to maturity in our faith? How can we be a part of making our world a better place? We need a Godly wardrobe, especially an all-purpose garment—love.
If we want a calm heart, it requires us to spend time in God’s Word, pray, and fully rely on His Holy Spirit to develop fruit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
If we live by faith, choosing to clothe ourselves in His grace and forgiveness, we’ll be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Our lives will exhibit the teachings of Christ and His light will shine through us.
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