Thursday, July 12, 2012

Patience: I Want it Now!

The past week or so I've been studying the topic of patience in preparation for a group Bible study meeting. As usual, God has impeccable timing. For the past few months the Lord has placed many Bible verses about patience in front of me such as:

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. 
Remember the great reward it brings you! 
Patient endurance is what you need now, 
so that you will continue to do God’s will. 
Then you will receive all that he has promised. 
~ Hebrews 10:35-36

When my patient endurance began to wear thin and gradually turned into child-like impatience, God decided to get me into a word study about patience. It's probably the equivalent of writing on the blackboard 100 times that I will not chew gum in class! So, rather than enjoy this word study all by myself, I thought I'd share it with you.

Here's a definition from a secular online dictionary...

patience [ˈpeɪʃəns] n

1. tolerant and even-tempered perseverance
2. the capacity for calmly enduring pain, trying situations, etc.
[via Old French from Latin patientia endurance, from patī to suffer]

I like these definitions: 
  1. The ability to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay; quiet, steady perseverance, diligence. 
  2. Accepting the imperfections of others.
  3. True patience is anchored in hope.
  4. An eager desire for relief or change; intolerant of anything that delays.
  5. Impatience is the chief trait of self-centeredness (immaturity).
What does the Bible say about patience?
  • In the Old Testament scriptures, patience is often defined as longsuffering or slow to anger
  • In the New Testament the terms endurance and waiting are often used with patience. 
  • Longsuffering is generally used in association with people. 
  • The terms patient endurance or waiting are usually associated with our circumstances. 
  • The opposite of patience (impatience) in the Old Testament is usually referred by the word weary (Isaiah 7:13). I found that definition very intriguing. When I feel impatient, weariness is not the first thing I think of but the mind and soul does become weary.
  • Mercy, gentleness, and humility are often closely tied with patience in the Bible.
  • Just a few of the rewards of patience: You earn respect (Proverbs 19:11); Doubly blessed (Job 42:10); God is pleased (1 Peter 2:20); Others will speak well of us (2 Thess. 1:4); We will be complete (James 1:4); Hope and encouragement (Romans 15:4). Patience is a fruit of the Spirit!
I'll leave the rest of the word study up to you. Hey, I can't do all the work!

So, what have I learned about patience?

  • I get impatient with people sometimes, but I usually become more impatient with my circumstances.
  • It grows my faith beyond its current level (maturity) and absolutely requires me to trust God with my circumstances.
  • Building patience doesn't happen overnight and I falter a lot. 
  • At times I'm much more immature than I believed myself to be.
  • There is true peace that occurs in my life when a measure of patience is achieved. That peace only comes through trusting God.

And the consequences of impatience? 
  • pain and suffering
  • broken dreams
  • troubled relationships
  • compromised integrity
  • God's displeasure
  • untimely death

Wow. I don't like this list at all and this list is not exhaustive! The next time I begin to feel impatience coming on, I need to read this list.

I found this word study quite interesting. Some of this information I found in a free PDF booklet online: Discovery Series about patience.

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