"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love." - Ephesians 4:2
What is the gift of patience? We often think of patience as putting up with something or someone. Like it has a superpower to hold back from blowing up at people. But patience is so much more than just staying calm.
In Ephesians 4:2, we see humility, love and gentleness go with patience. In fact, they are inseparable. To enjoy the gift of patience, we must understand it always comes with its companions and can only truly be experienced with them. Impatience is a reminder we cannot respond to the world with our natural instincts.
Instead, we require the help and guidance of our wise, heavenly Father. We find the footsteps of Jesus leading down these pathways, from humility to gentleness and to patience. We must respect others enough to help them bear their burdens. In this, we learn the gift of patience.
How does patience tie into Christmas? Imagine our holy, righteous God who daily shows patience to us. We are not perfect; He is. We are not holy; He is. We are not righteous; He is. We are not just; He is. We are not merciful; He is. The list of differences can go on forever. But, because He is perfect, He is perfectly patient, granting us opportunities to answer His call on our hearts and lives. In Him, we see patience lived out. He took on our flesh, came as a baby, lowly-born, and lived among us.
Although He is perfect, He dwelt among our imperfections, inconsistencies, hypocrisies, pains and lack of faith in Him. He is our perfect example of perfect patience. Even when He showed His righteous and justified anger, He was still serving as an example to us, not acting out of impatience but out of zeal for proper worship. He knew what He was walking into, showing us humility, gentleness, patience and love. What gifts!
How do we let the gift of patience come out of our lives? Remembering His patience with our failings motivates us to share patience with those who have failed us. Being patient means we guard our minds and tongues, so we don't react quickly to others but give pause to think and ponder our responses. Then we choose to show patience, to respond in love, and to speak in a way that points them toward Christ. A guarded tongue (James 3) reveals patience is growing in your life.
Unwrapping the Gift of Patience
- What situations tend to "demand" your patience? How can you be better prepared for them?
- Are you inviting Jesus into your conversations with others? Are you seeking wisdom from Him about your relationships?
- Who is someone you trust that can help you be more aware of your reactions?