Being patient with our children is really challenging.
Waiting for someone to change pushes our patience to the limit.
Waiting in traffic can be maddening.
Sitting in the DMV can push anyone to their breaking point.
Simply put, it’s really, really hard to be patient.
And yet Scripture makes it abundantly clear that Christians are to be the most patient people on earth. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 puts it this way, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”
Be patient with them all.
How is it possible to do such a thing?
The first step in growing in patience is to remember how patient God has been with us.
God has been incredibly, overwhelmingly, staggeringly patient toward us. The Bible tells us that we were once enemies of God. We weren’t neutral toward God. We weren’t friends of God. We were dead in our transgressions and sins and were actively opposed to God in every area of our lives.
Ephesians 2:1-3 puts it this way:
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
God would have been perfectly just to send us to Hell for our sins. It would have been completely fair for God to pour out His wrath on us for our willful disobedience.
But He didn’t do that. Instead, God was overwhelmingly, incredibly patient toward us. He patiently endured our sins against Him, extending grace to us time after time.
He didn’t cast us into Hell as we deserved but instead caused us to become spiritually alive toward Him.
Ephesians 2:4-5 puts it this way:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
Only an incredibly patient, gracious, merciful God would do such a thing for us. Even though we constantly sinned and rebelled against God, He made us alive together with Christ and saved us by His grace.
When we see how God overlooked our sins, again and again, it should lead us to overlook the sins and faults of others.
In Matthew 18:22, Jesus said that we are to forgive our brothers and sisters “seventy times seven” times. The only way we can do this is by remembering the infinite debt that God has forgiven us. We had a debt that we could never repay, and yet God forgave our debt.
This forgiveness enables us to forgive others when they sin against us. The forgiveness of God allows us to be merciful and patient toward others.
Father, thank You for Your incredible patience with me. You have forgiven my sins again and again. When I was Your enemy, You loved me. When I sinned against You, You gave me grace instead of punishment. Even now, when I am impatient, You are abundantly patient. No one has been more patient with me than You have.
Please help me to be patient with others. Help me to constantly remember Your immeasurable patience toward me. When I’m tempted to be impatient, help me be gracious instead. Help me to reflect and model Your incredible patience.
I praise You and worship You that You are gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast, patient love. Please help me to be the same.
In Jesus' name,