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June 19, 2023

Ep.1286: Does Patience Really Matter?

Uncovering a deep and life-changing facet of Christian patience

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What is scriptural forbearance and why do we need it?

How can we tell if we are properly developing forbearance?

How do patience and self-restraint help us to stand firm for Christ?

Theme Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-2

Patience is one of the most understated yet powerful characteristics any human being can have. Most of us think of patience as simply waiting things out – it’s raining and we can’t start the game until it stops, so let’s be patient. While this is one true facet, biblical patience goes much further. The Bible teaches us the kind of patience one needs when going through a hard and perhaps painful experience. This kind of patience adds a factor of endurance to the necessary waiting, as one needs to bear a burden or discomfort for a time. Interestingly, the New Testament adds yet another dimension to the kind of patience we as Christians are supposed to have. As we shall soon see, this kind is all about self-restraint. The question is, am I personally and truly living a life of Christlike patience?

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Patience in the Love Chapter

1 Corinthians 13 is commonly called the Love Chapter. It is the Apostle Paul’s very complete and inspiring treatise on what selfless love is and how it works. The very first description of selfless love in verse 4 begins with “Love is patient…” It’s easy to look at this “patient” description and think it means that love is willing to quietly wait for things. While this is a nice thought, it does not nearly capture what this particular word means.

Patience as a fruit of the spirit

We encounter the same issue when we read about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. The fourth characteristic on this list of God’s spirit affecting our lives is also “patience.” Here we can easily think that God’s spirit is expressed in us when we learn to quietly wait. Again, nice thought, but it simply doesn't capture the depth of the word.

This word means to forbear, to have self-restraint, and goes way beyond quietly waiting. It is also different from the kind of biblical patience described as perseverance, which means bearing up under a heavy or hurtful burden for a long time. When we simply wait or bear up under stress, we are usually responding to the circumstances that surround us. These responses are important and necessary qualities of our Christian character. However, forbearance is a response to our own reactions and not to what is happening around us. It is the disciplined restraining of me - my thoughts words and deeds - even when I have a right to react.

Check out our June 19, 2023 podcast, “Does Patience Really Matter?” for more. We dig into several examples of how forbearance works. What we find are powerful examples of the role self-restraint should play in each and every Christian life. This particular aspect of patience is not something most of us practice naturally or even gracefully. Yet, it is spoken of as a central part of our Christian lives. Join us as we uncover this Christlike character attribute and learn how to rely on it in every part of our Christian experience!


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