God has chosen us, made us holy, and loves us. We are His daughters. His people. His ambassadors. He calls us to live in relationship with Himself through His Son Jesus. As we do so, the character of Jesus shapes us character. We become the women He created us to be. We reflect Christ. We live loved.
We’ve already looked at the characteristics of compassion, kindness, humility, and gentleness. Now, in this fifth and final part in the Living Loved series, we’ll look at the characteristic of patience.
Are you a patient person?
In this age of instant and convenient, we don’t have to endure or wait long for many of life’s comforts. From overnight shipping to on-demand movies to microwave dinners, instant is at our fingertips.
Yet there are many things that try our patience. Many things we have to endure. Many things we have to wait for. Things that are maybe less tangible, but still very real.
Situations that are stressful. Conflict and disagreements. People who get on our last nerve. Dreams that go unfulfilled. Relationships we want to see restored. Pet peeves and annoyances. Hopes that have yet to be realized. Misunderstanding and miscommunication. All these require patience.
What hard stuff are you enduring right now?
What hopes are you waiting for?
These circumstances of waiting can be difficult to handle. These times of enduring can be hard to bear. Patience is needed in order to go through these times with any peace of mind. But oftentimes, patience is fleeting and we feel impatient; stress mounts, tension builds, pressure rises, and we break down or lash out… or both.
In Colossians 3:12, the word “patience” comes from the greek word makrothumia. It is also translated as “long-suffering,” “forbearance,” and “fortitude.” Markrothumia comes from makrothumos, which is a compound of makros, meaning longevity of space or time, and thumos, which speaks of temper, hot anger, and wrath.
The word makrothumos literally means “long tempered.” It speaks of being slow to anger, not giving into anger, and not letting anger turn into vengeful wrath.
Another word we see translated as “patient” is makrothumeo. This word speaks of enduring and not losing heart in the midst of that which is hard or hurtful.
God is a patient God. As He pursues us and calls us to Himself, He waits patiently for us to return to Him. Each day He gives new mercies and is gracious and compassionate. He acts in His perfect timing and is slow to anger.
As our Father is patient with us, we are called to be patient in our relationships with others, as 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says, “Be patient with everyone.” (NLT)
We are to be patient rather than quick tempered, and there are great benefits in being patient during conflict and disagreements:
Patience leads to understanding and the resolving of conflict. In James 1:19, we are instructed, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (NIV)
In the middle of disagreements, it’s easy to lose our patience and say things that are hurtful. Taking the time to listen can help us understand the other person and where they are coming from. Being slow to speak allows for God to guide our emotional response and reply with wisdom.
We are to be patient and bear with one another, forgiving each other as the Lord forgives:
Rather than letting the faults and annoyances of others get us riled up, we should be patient with them, and choose to love and to be understanding. (And keep in mind that there are probably faults and annoyances in us that bother others!)
We are to be patient in enduring hardships, not losing heart, or letting go of our hope in God:
We find patience in our interactions with others and in enduring the hard stuff of life when we patiently wait on God and rest in His perfect timing:
Patience in enduring and in waiting brings peace as we trust in God. We can know that He is with us through it all, that He is working for our good, and that He will answer our cries and keep His promises.