Thursday, February 15, 2007

What is Patience?

What is patience?

It's a virtue variously defined as "longsuffering," "endurance," "bearing up under," and "not having a short fuse." It means that we maintain our composure in the midst of trying circumstances. It means that we don't "blow our stack" the instant something doesn't go exactly the way we want.

God is patient. "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger (or patient), and abounding in lovingkindness and truth" (Exod. 34:6).

We, as His children through faith in Christ, are to imitate that patience by being patient. Col. 3:12 says, "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Paul begins his description of love in 1 Cor. 13 by saying, "Love is patient" (verse 4a). One of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is "patience" (Gal. 5:22).

So then, what is it? As far as you and I are concerned, patience is essentially trust. In specific, trust in God. Because we know who God is and what He's done, we trust Him. We trust the Lord to do what's right - always - and therefore, we can endure difficult circumstances, put up with annoying irritations, and have a longer and longer fuse. Patience is all about trusting the God we know and love - the sovereign God who does all things for His glory and our good.


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