Too often do we wait for God to be ready, rather than realizing that instead that we’re the one who isn’t ready. “Any day now, Lord.” Such words that have left my tongue regarding almost every aspect of life; from job promotions, new friendships and relationships, career opportunities, and that frustrating instance when the inductive loop system (trip) doesn’t pick up the fact that I’ve been sitting at a red light for what feels like an hour. The coils in the road sense you, but you never know if someone else will speed up to try to make it through the yellow light, blindsiding you and haunting your forward progress as soon as it begins.
Impatience seems to be about as much of a part of our daily lives as our 5 basic senses. “I need this sensation of taste/ touch now!” Have you forgotten that before you taste the bread, you first smell it? There’re times in our life where we begin to feel a little bit to “at home,” it’s as quickly as the sensation of smell strikes your nose. Suddenly, you seem stuck in life, this is only the first sense, as you smell change brewing as God begins to stir your comfort levels. Yes, dearly beloved, in today’s article we are going to talk about patience, and along the way I want to illustrate the change and our longing for change, by comparing it to our 5 basic senses. At first, you smell what you want, but there’s a lot that happens in between smelling it, and tasting it.
Let’s start by understanding the importance of patience. Of course, we’ve always heard about how patience is a virtue. How silly is it? to water its importance down to a single word, “virtue.” When we allow our hearts to be covetous, all of a sudden “virtuous” is the last thing we care to be. “Why should I become virtuous when this captivating new shiny object projects unto me a happiness I can be certain of?” Well, because you can’t be certain of it, but even assuming you can be certain of the thrill, continuously having your expectations met, doesn’t put your spirit in a place that allows the Lord to lead your path. Patience isn’t only about waiting for what you want, it’s equally about learning how to accept the absence of the things you can’t have.
Patience is actually more than just a “virtue.” It’s a characteristic of the righteous. While the righteous are full of virtue, one who is virtuous is not always righteous. Because God has placed compassion in the hearts of a majority of the population (given the statistics surrounding sociopaths), it’s not difficult to find a virtuous atheist. Are the Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses virtuous people? Of course they are! However, we know that righteousness is reserved for those who know the Lord Jesus, and not for those who worship Michael, or misconstrue Christ’s origins, taking him as the brother of Lucifer. Patience is just as much a part of godly living as joy, peace, compassion, humility & gentleness.
“Okay so on one hand, I’m supposed to seek out what God is doing, and I’m supposed to long for his return, but I’m also supposed to be patient and wait on him to move?” Yes.
Well, no in regard to that example. The day of the Lord will be dreadful (Amos 5:18), and not something you should look forward to. However, when it comes to your daily life, and the progress you make in respect to your job or relationships, the very thing you should do, is seek what God is doing, and patiently wait for it to come to fruition. However, there are some steps in between, always remember that the Lord will only open doors for you, but you’ve got to be the one who steps out in faith.
The development of patience is best illustrated by comparing it to our 5 basic senses; Smelling, hearing, seeing, touching, and tasting. It all starts with smell, and it ends with taste. The first thing you do is smell the change cooking, this is God “stirring a yearning” within you. Next you hear Gods call over the yearning, where he confirms that the stirring is the work of the Holy Spirit, this is what I could call, “hearing the steering.” He starts by stirring a yearning, then you begin hearing the steering. After that, you start “seeing the meaning,” where you begin to see (spiritually understand) what it is God’s moving you towards, and why. After you’ve begun seeing the meaning, you begin to “compare the compromise.” This is when things become hands on, this is where you come in. “What do I need to change so God can move forward with this plan?” With great power, comes great responsibility, it’s very possible that there are some habits you may need to shed in order to successfully do the work God is calling you towards. Lastly, you finally experience the change in the 5th step, which is the “sensation of senses,” taste.
Recap: 1) Stirring a yearning. 2) Hearing the steering. 3) Seeing the meaning. 4) Comparing the compromise. 5) Sensation of senses.
So how do we build patience, what piece of equipment at the gym can exercise my patience? It’s actually called a “Second Peter,” and you want to set the weight on the first chapter, with 5-8 pounds of resistance (I have no idea why I word things in such ways).
“For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)
I found it peculiar that the Lord led me to a verse which doesn’t even mention patience, but when you analyze it from a philosophical perspective, putting the verse into practice would, above all things, create patience and endurance in an individual. First add goodness to your faith, these are the virtues I included earlier; such as joy, peace, compassion, humility & gentleness (Colossians 3:12). From there, add knowledge to your goodness, self-control to your knowledge. Then add endurance to your self-control, and from there you’ll add godliness to your endurance, and to your godliness add Christ like affection. Lastly, add love to your affection.
Each step is in order of importance, you cannot add endurance to knowledge without connecting them through self-control, and this verse alone could take up an entire article if I were to dissect its importance and depth, but as a walking advertisement for ADHD medication, I’m going to remain determined as to stay on task.
So far I’ve been pretty lazy about attaching any supporting verses, so let’s take a look at a few to ensure we’re on the right track thus far:
+Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. (Ephesians 4:2)
tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.
hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.
patiently for the Lord’s help;
then he listened to me and heard
is good to everyone who trusts in him,
it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—
it is best to learn this patience in our youth.
Patience is soil for peace to flourish, therefore we know that troubles are the opposite of patience (Proverbs 15:18). Virtues produce fruit, which is why the Bible is very specific as to which virtues we should pursue, because those virtues will determine the quality of our fruit. Patience turns the Lords ear towards our cries (Lam 3: 25-27, Psalm 40:1). We also must patiently await the Lords return with high hopes placed at his feet (James 5:8).
It’s okay to be ambitious, it’s no sin to seek progress. However, be careful as to not assume you are ready for the next step in life. We go through seasons of refinement, seasons of healing, seasons of growth; too often do we assume we’re waiting on God, when in reality, God is still bringing the current season you’re in to a close. When you feel like it’s time for the next chapter, that’s usually God preparing you for it spiritually. Our hearts must first long for change, lest we invite the Lord to push us so far outside our comfort zones, that we are rendered useless as servants.
The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride.