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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy: Patience is essential to please God, help others
Larry Sheehy mug web
Larry Sheehy

Patience is one of those godly virtues to which the adage, "Easier said than done," can be applied. I guess that's true of all of them. But patience seems to be right up there with the most difficult. Yet, if we're to follow in Jesus' footsteps, we must be continually working to increase it in ourselves.

Biblical patience has nothing to do with cowardice or weakness. Synonyms include "long-suffering" and "endurance." This is why Job is considered a patient person. He wasn't glad that he lost his servants and animals and children. Rather it was his faith that God didn't do that which is evil. Willingness to endure hardship takes patience. Later, Job's patience with God was tested when Satan afflicted him with terrible sores from head to foot. Of course, he didn't understand that the Lord has was demonstrating Job's faithfulness.

The willingness to practice patience with others is key to success in influencing them for good. Helping others to become what God wants them to be will not be accomplished by losing our temper or exhibiting a frowning disdain for their weaknesses.

A legitimate question about patience is, "How do I get it?" Paul assured the Christians in the province of Galatia that it comes from the Spirit of God - it is a "fruit of the Spirit," along with love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) "Well," you may be thinking, "why hasn't the Spirit given me more patience - along with those other blessings?" But these are characteristics that will bless the lives of those who live as the Spirit of God directs. Paul says that "...those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." (Romans 8:5-6)

As we work at living according to the desires of God, revealed to us by his Spirit in the Word, we will develop more and more patience, as well as the other attributes of godliness. As suggested in the first paragraph, patience is developed as we work at it, guided and aided by the Spirit of God.

Baltasar Gracian, 17th century Spanish Jesuit philosopher and writer, said, "Let him that hath no power of patience retire within himself, though even there he will have to put up with himself."

Patience is often difficult. But it is necessary if we want to please God and help others.



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