REFLECTING ON THE VIRTUE OF PATIENCE
There are two kinds of patience. There is patience that we learn as humans from our parents and others or through experience. This is the patience that we exercise when we choose to stay hungry in wait for a freshly cooked meal rather than eat a leftover that we did not quite like. I call this natural patience. How patient an individual can naturally be might be dependent on the persons personality type. Hence, some people, believers and unbelievers alike can be adjudged more patient than others. There is the second kind of patience that is not learned but is planted by God in the heart of believers in Jesus Christ when He saves them(Galatians 5: 22). It is this patience that a christian exercises when the christian endures deprivation in rejection of instant sinful gratification.This patience is not dependent on personality type but on faith nurtured in fellowship with Christ and the church. It is this patience from God that I am reflecting upon.
A sister in Christ once told me that she has stopped praying for patience. The reason she gave me for this was that whenever she asked God for patience, God would give her many opportunities to practice patience and that those opportunities did not feel good. I certainly could see the sense in her fears and also the wisdom in what God was doing in her. The only way to grow in patience is by practicing patience. It may not seem like fun at the time when we are consciously pursuing it but the good news is that the more we practice it, the more it is easier to observe and after a while, it becomes a way of life for us and no more burdensome.
Patience is desirable in our daily walk with the Lord. In this life, the difference between right and wrong is not always as clear as black and white. We need patience to discern what is right. We need patience to discern God's will and patience to follow it.
Though our human natural response patterns to normal day to day life may portray some (believers and unbelievers alike) as patient, when matters of faith is at stake, naturally learned response patterns would not be adequate to sustain the patience that meets the righteousness of God. Hence, in our daily walk with the Lord, we need that patience that comes from Him so that we can make choices that honor and glorify Him.
As God's holy people, we should not only ask God to give us patience but also to give us the patience to learn to be patient.