Wait for it… Wait for it…

Patience is a Virtue… A virtue is something that is morally good or righteous; therefore patience is morally good and righteous. I just spoke about patience the other day and in the middle of my message someone texted me to hurry up.  I thought it was funny.

Why is patience so… awkwardly embraced?  It’s kind of like hugging your cousin that drools and smells… or maybe you are the cousin.  I can preach about love, joy, peace (and I did, see Galatians 5:22-23) and people lean into these character traits God the Holy Spirit produces in our lives, but when we get to patience it’s the awkward embrace.

We know patience is good, right and important but for some reason we seem to live with and even excuse various levels of impatience.  Culture gives us permission to be impatient in several arenas.

  • We’re allowed to be impatient when paying for a service.  It is why so many people treat servers and clerks poorly.
  • We’re allowed to be impatient when driving.  After all, the guy in front is driving like an idiot.
  • We’re allowed to be impatient when trying to get our way.  It’s like admitting that although patience is a virtue, winning is better than virtue.
  • We’re allowed to be impatient with our kids.  Were not supposed to harm them but it seems okay to be snippy, critical and pushy.
  • We’re allowed to be impatient with our spouse or other family members.  They gotta love us,

Why do we give ourselves permission to be impatient when God is working to put patience inside of us?  Why do we give ourselves permission to be impatient when God is so patient with us?

We see patience as a virtue that is primarily about us. I need to be more patient so I feel less stress, get along better, don’t feel as bad about people, drive safer…

It is true, patience makes our lives better lived.  I am happier when I am patient and grumpier when I am impatient.  As long as I see patience this way, I will see patience as an option.  In all honesty, I don’t always care about being happy as much as I care about getting my way.  I don’t always care about less stress as much as I care about getting somewhere, getting something or… winning.  This makes patience an option rather than an obligation.    In other words, I will use patience when it is advantageous to my goal and impatience when it is advantageous to my goal.  But if the goal is to be virtuous, we lose with this approach.

Another reason is we do not recognize patience for the powerful and formidable weapon it is.  God’s patience is what creates for us security, ushers us into grace, keeps us from being squished, opens the door to trust, allows us to return when we screw up big time, keeps Him from harping on us because of our pace of growth… and a whole lot more.  God’s patience, when I choose to recognize it in my life, is a bold statement of His love.  It is a really powerful tool in moving my life toward holiness and humility.

It only makes sense that God would want this powerful weapon to be wielded by His people for His purposes.  How many people would see Jesus more clearly if you were more patient?  How many people would feel safer around you if you were more patient?  If patience were your operating system, what difference would that make in those around you?

Patience gets it mojo from grace, and it is impossible to be patient without grace.  So here is the rub, if you have a problem with being patient, it is very likely a grace problem not a patience problem.  That’s all I have for today.  Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on July 27, 2010.

One Response to “Wait for it… Wait for it…”

  1. A grace problem? . . . now that stings, I guess because it hits too close to home. But it makes sense, because the only human who had an abundance of patience also was the definer of grace.

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