The deep biblical meaning of patience and how to achieve it
We are not patient. Not anymore. It used to be just a few decades ago that when you needed to talk to someone far away, you waited until the day ended, went home, had dinner and then you tried to call them. Several decades before that, you thought about what you wanted to say, wrote them a letter, sent it and waited… Now we simply and instantly text them and usually get a pretty instant answer as well. Not only do we not have patience, we have a hard time teaching it to others. Our children have the privilege and problem of instant access, instant answers and instant fun which leads them to instant frustration when something doesn’t go as expected. Patience – Jesus told us “in your patience possess ye your souls.” Turns out that there is much more to that statement than meets the eye! What is the Bible’s real message regarding patience for Christians?
The first thing to realize about patience is that there are a whole lot of applications for it. Patience in its simplest form is waiting – we really want that cup of coffee – we really need that cup of coffee but it needs to brew – it won’t be rushed, so you simply need to wait. This is probably the most common understanding of patience and when you think about it, it really shouldn’t be all that hard to master. After all, we know that things sometimes just take time, yet in spite of that knowledge we still get frazzled! Interestingly, the Bible has little to say about this kind of patience. It’s almost like it is too basic to even comment on.
The Bible begins to have something to say as we look at a deeper kind of patience. To be patient (according to Scripture) is to "be appropriate," and this is so much harder than simply waiting. Think about it: You are a parent and your teenager is in one of those adolescent, verbally-destroy-everything-in-their-path moods. You have already had a long and trying day and the second you walk in the door – bam! You are the enemy. You feel like snapping back – but you don’t because you understand that you are the adult here and you have an opportunity to set a great example! So, you respond with appropriateness – you respond with grace and understanding. Wait, that’s not how you would respond? Well, then that’s just one of many great reasons to listen to this podcast, but more on that in a minute.
The Bible identifies two other types of patience that go far beyond simply waiting for something and being appropriate in circumstances that are common. As a matter of fact, the deeper the type of patience, the more the Bible has to say about it. Without going into details now on these deeper and more significant brands of patience, we already have a lesson before us that is profound: As Christians we are expected to be able to master the most basic type of patience, and we really need to learn and master the deeper kinds as they are necessary for our faithfulness.
Learn how with us! Check out our May 29, 2017 podcast, “What’s Your Hurry?” and see what might be missing in your patience arsenal. Who knows – understanding all of this might even help with your blood pressure!
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