Sunday Reflections – The Logic of Patience

1-30-13 PatienceMy pastor recently stated that rather than having a temper problem, he has a patience problem. I certainly identify with that. My temper usually flares when something isn’t happening when I think it should and in the way I think it should. It flares, usually, when I’m simply being impatient.

When exploring the value of patience, we largely consider its negative consequences, and we do this because of the motivation that doing so can provide. For today, though, let’s look at patience from the other side, from the benefits that it provides.

Do you remember using “If… then…” statements in geometry? What about computer programming? Grammar maybe? Concepts explained through these statements stuck with me, I think, because they provided a logical argument with which to analyze any topic.

Looking at the benefits of patience through “If… then…” logic has helped me gain a renewed ambition to become more patient and as a result to further defeat any control my temper might try to exert.

  • IF I want to grow, THEN I need to be patient.
  • IF I want to harvest, THEN I must wait after I plant.
  • IF I am patient with others, THEN love and unity will grow.
  • IF I want to overcome temptation, THEN patience must be a rule.
  • IF I want to win over my enemies, THEN I must employ patient persuasion.
  • IF I am patient with others, THEN I am showing love.
  • IF the Holy Spirit controls my life, THEN patience will grow within me.
  • IF I love one others, THEN I won’t get hung up on faults.
  • IF I exercise patience, THEN I act counter-culturally.

A spirit of patience must blanket our lives. We also need to choose patience during specific life events too. Patience happens when it becomes an attitude of the heart.

AMPLIFY: My 2013 social focus involves thinking first and reacting less. I want to develop a better habit of acting instead of reacting. I’ve tried willpower. Doesn’t work. The fruit of the Spirit needs to increase in me.

DISCUSSION: Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Patience is better than pride.” Help me understand and apply that concept.

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18 thoughts on “Sunday Reflections – The Logic of Patience

  1. I think being patient can increase when we realize we control very little. We get frustrated in life when things do not occur as we think they should or on the schedule we think. To know that God is in control and he has our backs should let us exercise more patient in this knowledge. Being patient is also a gift we can give to others. We tend to judge others from our perspective and show little patience born of a wrong perspective sometimes. Extend that to others and as you said you are loving them.

    • Realizing that we control very little and then simply planning for that fact to make itself evident often. We don't plan to fail, but we don't plan not to. When I plan ahead with regard to my level of patience, I handle things much better. More of Him is the answer, once again. Getting to know God more and to realize that He is in control can help us exercise more patience. And, I really like the idea of patience being a gift you give others. In this way, we can make the world a better place too!

      • I have known what it feels like to have someone not be patient with me. It never feels good and makes me feel to them I'm not good enough. As our kids struggle with growth the need to show them a lot of patience is needed so that we do not communicate they are not good enough.

        • There is the emotional connection we need to be motivated toward patience. That alone will help me be more patient with my kids, especially my youngest, and even beyond to other people and their kids. (a common irritation for me). Thank you for saying this Mark.

  2. it is interesting that patience, perseverance and persistence are interrelated, and all words found in God's message to us. All are anchored by hope, faith and love. Saying that God is always working on my degree of patience, perseverance and persistence to help me grow closer to Him daily.

    • Yes, it is interesting. I have been realizing more of the truth lately that we are a system, and our systems are systems. When something is wrong, it's rarely just one thing. When life feels right, our systems are working together well. Take supplements for example. No one is "the key." They all work together to create a healthier you. Our spiritual lives are the same. The three elements you mention all work together as a system. God doesn't seem to focus on one area as "the key." So many things work together to create a healthy system. Am I making any sense?

  3. Yes, however the Greek word we translate for patience actually includes perseverance, thus patience is never passive but active on our part. That is where the persistence follows suit as well. Patiently waiting does not mean "sitting idle" – it refers to expecting by faith what will happen while we are continuing to do what we need to do to please God each day. Hope that helps…

    • Great point in that patience is not necessarily a passive act. We can do so much "preparation" work during that "waiting" time, and that makes the "go" time more effective. Thanks for the added depth on this!

    • Thanks for the link, Loren. I have not read it all the way through, but I am going to later when I can focus on it. I started reading it and realized how right on it was with what I needed to hear that I decided I needed to make sure I could totally focus when I went through it in detail. I did get as far as this quote: "The opposite of impatience is a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness either to wait for God where you are in the place of obedience, or to persevere at the pace he allows on the road of obedience—to wait in his place, or to go at his pace." That stopped me in my tracks and made me realize I needed to spend more time with this. Great resource! I recommend everyone check this out.

  4. A shout out for Kari….. She responds so promptly to comments. She does this better than anyone I know. Well thought out response too! It is appreciated.

    • Well, I HAD to respond to this one quickly 🙂 Maybe one of these days I'll explain my "why" behind doing this… or maybe I'll leave it a mystery to be enjoyed. Thanks for saying something, Mark. This encourages me in ways you had no idea it could.

  5. My mom told a story of praying for patience, now having me at 41 may have had something to do with her need for them….anyway her pastor prayed God would give her trials and tribulations so she would learn patience. I never wanted to ask for patience after that! But it certainly is something we cannot develop without the Spirit, maybe that's why it is listed as a fruit of the Spirit. Thanks for the reminder of the benefits of it. I am reminded of the song about waiting on the Lord and praying and working, and doing, and trusting while I am waiting for Him to work.

    • I have heard people say, "Be careful to not pray for patience because you're going to get your patience tried if you do." (Not exact wording, but you get my point.) Anyway, someone also said once to me that avoiding asking for patience is avoiding asking for a fruit of the Holy Spirit in you. Not asking is not trusting God because it's like trying to avoid that which He knows we can handle and that which will allow us to grow. He isn't going to allow what we can't handle, so trusting Him to teach us patience is an act of faith. The song you mention get at what Coach said about patience not being passive or idle but rather being something that we do while we go about what we know God wants us to do. I like that concept a lot.

  6. Pingback: How to… Live Grace | Struggle to Victory

  7. I was always told "never pray for patience unless you expect trouble." Because, they say, it is through trouble that you grow in patience. But your answer in the above comment is exactly right: it short circuits a fruit of the Spirit. I think so many want to avoid it because we have been (falsely) taught that God wants us "healthy and wealthy" and always looking on the smiling side. That is a false teaching that has robbed many Christ-followers of joy and peace thinking they are doing something wrong since they are having difficulty. I don't like difficulty or trouble but realize that it is designed to lead me deeper into a walk with Jesus and closer to the Father. Oh, I came by way of Melanie's blog.

    • I was told that a lot too. Troubles to help us grow in a lot of ways, including in patience. But, I think, while we can and do learn patience, it is also a gift of the Holy Spirit. I am finding more and more that the answer to all my struggles is exactly the same every time: More of Him. That answer allows us to have patience whether or not we have troubles, it allows us to rest even when we are busy and overwhelmed. More of Him allows us to accept troubles as ways to get more of Him. Thank you for vising Struggle to Victory. I enjoy deep comments and conversations like this and hope you return.

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