A Most Telling Thing About Us
"Love is patient," we studied in our neighborhood Bible study. Carol had never thought of love as being patient. "Just think of all of the chances there are to show impatience during the day," she said. "First, someone is late for breakfast...."
There are many occasions throughout our day that we choose to either respond with the patience the Holy Spirit provides or we grieve Him by responding out of our own impulsive spirit. Paul wrote in that same chapter "Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8). As we continually walk in the Spirit, He teaches us to remain good-natured, even under provocation.
One of Satan's subtle plans is to make us view our impatience as being of slight importance, hardly worthy of our concern. When the Spirit reproves us, it's natural to excuse our impatience by thinking, "I had good reason to be upset."
But our patience - or lack of it - may be the most telling thing about the effectiveness of our Christian testimony. Non-christians will want to use our impatience as an excuse to doubt our sincerity.
"When I was young," a friend told us, "I overheard a father angrily scold his children. I thought, Tonight when we go to church, you may testify, but I won't have confidence in you."
God's promises are failures if He cannot keep us from impatience. As always, the work God requires of us is a faith that looks to Him to provide grace to do His will. "God's work - which is by faith" (1 Timothy 1:4). None of the fruit of the Spirit can be done in our own strength.
Dear Jesus, give me grace to insist on saying and doing nothing that I would not say or do if I saw You sitting beside me.
"A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly" (Proverbs 14:29).
"Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city" (Proverbs 16:32).