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Need More Patience?

Name some of the most impatient situations you’ve ever been in.  I bet they involve traffic and anything that has to do with waiting in a line.  I remember waiting in line at Disney World on a family vacation.  An app on my phone told me approximately how long we would have to wait.  While that helped, I couldn’t help but think about what I was missing while trapped in line and why I hadn’t paid more attention to something I heard about a “fast pass”.  Once when my second daughter was born I was waiting in line at a Walgreens near the hospital for a prescription for my wife.  There were about ten people ahead of me in line and several behind me.  The guy behind me was probably the most obnoxious, mouthy, impatient person I’ve ever heard and I hadn’t even seen his face yet.  For about fifteen minutes all he did was complain loudly and hurl insults at the store employees.  Finally, I turned around and said, “Your complaining isn’t speeding up the employees but it is annoying everyone in line”.  I’d like to say he stopped but he didn’t.  Now he was mad at everyone – especially me. 

Have you ever been in a hurry but it didn’t seem like God or anyone else was?  It seems you are the only one needing an answer now but truth be known what you really need is patience.  Patience isn’t as much about waiting as it is about your attitude of waiting.  Fighting off fleshly reactions is something everyone has struggled with since the day they were born and cried at the first hint of hunger.  Scripture says patience is one of the fruits of God’s Spirit present in the life of the Christian (Galatians 5:22).  Often I’ve wondered where it was in my life.  But we grow in patience only by experience situations that test it.  Stress, frustration, difficulty, and pressure are some things that we either endure with a Christ-like attitude or we give into.  We either win over them and become patient or we become them – stressed, frustrated, and frazzled.  Difficult situations can be tough to be patient through.  After all, we want answers and the problems to go away.  But if you find yourself upset over the smallest things you may find out how impatient you really are. 

1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient.”  God is growing you in godliness and you must experience lack of patience and His perfect love to grow more patient.  James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  Problems bring patience.   Patience brings maturity.  Maturity means you are becoming like Christ.  Patience isn’t something you can learn by just reading about it.  You must endure and practice it in your daily stresses, problems, and frustrations. 

In the middle of situations where it seems the answer or peace will never come we should pray and believe God has not abandoned us but is working on our behalf.  His timing is perfect.  Waiting on the Lord is really what being patient is all about.  But while you wait you don’t give up living and doing what He desires for your life.  Stress and worry are a result of us taking matters in our own hands and coming up short but remaining unwilling to turn it over to God.  Some of the most patient people I’ve ever met are those that are in the middle of the most difficult situations.  Why?  They’ve learned to release it all to the Lord and wait on Him.  Waiting on the Lord equals patience.  It’s waiting without worrying. It’s waiting without complaining.  It’s waiting while serving and growing in Christ. 

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

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