Patience is defined as having the capacity to accept misfortune, trouble or pain without complaining or becoming angry or upset. When we’re clothed with patience, we can absorb life’s irritations and annoyances. We can absorb them the way a good thick towel absorbs splatters and spills. Patience also involves the ability to endure and persevere because a patient individual has a confidence fueled by hope and not desperation. The Bible lists patience as one of the fruits of the Spirit and associates it with love and hope. Believers must conduct their lives in the same way Jesus Christ would if He were in their position. We are to practice His way of life because it is eternal life. It will help prepare us for His Kingdom, and it enables us to glorify God here and now. Patience is a vital part of the process that enables God to produce in us aspects of His image so that we “may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” God is the source of patience and His Spirit is the means of possessing this very valuable virtue.
Patience is required in our relationships with other people including our family and friends. As you know, people can irritate, annoy, and exasperate us but God wants us to be slow to anger. Jesus showed us how to have compassion with one another. Jesus showed us how to love and forgive each other as well as to bear with each other. Unfortunately, we live in a society that all too often doesn’t know how to patiently wait. Our generation has become the “I want it now” generation. We’ve become so accustomed to immediate self-gratification that we have lost our appreciation for the gift of patience, but patience has its own rewards. Patience wins the approval of God. Patience makes us a good example for others. Patience perfects our character. Patience provides health for our soul , gives us hope and enables us to inherit God’s promises.
Patience is an essential aspect toward maturity and growth as a Christian, yet it is not a fun thing to obtain. Patience will allow us to endure and go on, even when we do not feel like it. It will see the hope that is ahead, when the clouds of our lives and experiences block its view from our sight. Patience will allow us to cling to Christ no matter what happens. Patience is hanging on to what is good. If you lack this fruit of the Spirit, go to God in prayer and ask Him to allow this gift to grow within you. It won’t be easy, but the end result will serve you well in every aspect of your life and God will be glorified.
Imagine for a moment that you have all the money in the world and you are able to buy anything you want. What would you buy? Would it be a house, car, boat, private jet, maybe a private island? It’s even possible to buy talent, hire people who know more than you do to work for you, so in essence you can buy knowledge. But there is one thing you can’t buy – you can’t buy character. There is nothing is more important than godly character. Either a person has it or he doesn’t, and, it’s better to keep your character than it is to lose it and then try to recover it. Character is manifested in great moments, but it is made in the small ones. Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely who others think you are.
How a Christian deals with the circumstances of their life speaks of their character. Crisis doesn’t necessarily make character, but it does reveal it. Adversity in our lives is a crossroads where a person chooses one path – character or compromise. Character is who you are when no one is looking. Character is more than just talk for anyone can say they have integrity but action is the true indicator. Your character determines who you are. People that always seem to be at war with themselves have a problem in their character. Proverbs 20:11 says that “even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” Your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk!
Talent is a gift but character is a choice. There are a lot of things in our life that we have no control over. We don’t get to pick our parents, our upbringing, our talents, our IQ, but we do choose our character. In fact, we create it every time we make choices, and our choices will reflect what’s inside of us. Do your choices reflect someone with a godly character or are your choices determined by your flesh which is by its very nature evil? A person of godly character will always take the high road which is the one less traveled but one that will bring lasting success. Success without a good foundation of character is bound for failure.
Examine every aspect of your life; your relationship with God, your spouse, your children, your peers, your employer. Identify short cuts and short comings in those areas. Pray about each one. Look for patterns. What patterns of weakness do you see? These are character issues. Ask God to deliver you from these patterns. Face the music. The beginning of character repair is when you face your flaws, repent and deal with them. People with godly characters are described as those who are honest, loves people, works hard, keeps his word, is humble and seeks to serve others at every opportunity. Have I just described the person you are?
One time, a man found a cocoon of an emperor moth and took it home so he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. One day a small opening appeared. The man sat and watched the moth for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. To the man it appeared as if the moth had gotten as far as it could in breaking out of the cocoon and was stuck. Out of kindness, the man decided to help the moth. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon so that the moth could get out. Soon the moth emerged, but it had a swollen body and small-shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth, expecting that in time the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would simultaneously, contract to its proper size but that did not happen. In fact, that little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly. The man in his kindness didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get though the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings so that the moth would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Just as the moth could only achieve freedom and flight as a result of struggling, we often need to struggle to become all that God intends for us to be. Sometimes, we wish that God would remove our struggles and take away all the obstacles; but just as the man crippled the emperor moth, so we would be crippled if God did that for us. God doesn’t take away our problems and difficulties, but He promises to be with us in the midst of them and to use them to restore us, making us into better, stronger people. Even when God seems 1,000 miles away and uninterested in our affairs, He is with us step-by-step during difficult times. He has not abandoned us, for we are His children and He loves us and cares for us. We must realize that He is watching over us and is doing what is best for us.
During our times of suffering, the most important thing to do is to keep our faith and trust in God. We must never stop believing or trusting in our heavenly Father. We must have the kind of faith that loves God regardless of the trials and tribulations that we face. Hold steady! God is not finished with you yet. Remember, you have a great cloud of witnesses who have already finished their face and they are cheering you on to your finish line. They made it – so can you!