I remember some of the first lessons I had on patience. The subject of patience seemed to involve sitting still and being quiet. This was true in school, at the waiting room in the doctor’s office, and yes, even in church. Therefore, I thought that patience was the discipline to wait without complaint.
As time progressed and knowledge increased, I came to realize that this was not what true patience is at all. Patience is not just sitting still and waiting. Instead, patience is equated with persistence and endurance. Those who lack patience tend to quit at the first sight of trouble. Patience is what picks us up when we fall and motivates us forward when we feel like going back.
As you can imagine, patience is essential in the life of a Christian. The devil is always trying to discourage us from living the Christian life. Nothing would give him more pleasure than for us to throw in the towel and say, “enough!” So, how do we grow in patience?
Have the Proper Mindset. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34)
Jesus did not say these words to discourage anyone from following Him. On the contrary, Jesus said this to give His disciples the proper mindset to endure.
When we follow Jesus, we are going to run into various problems. The devil is always out to discourage us from following Jesus as we ought. Having the proper mindset prepares us for adversity by giving us the predetermined dedication we need to stand our ground. The benefit is priceless. We will be like those described in Scripture, “But we are not of those who draw back to perditions, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:39)
Enduring Trials. Going through trials and adversity is never easy. It is this process, however, that makes us strong in the Lord. Just like trees of the forest, they become strong amid fierce winds that have come against them.
Paul wrote about the benefits of trials. He stated, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3, 4)
If we can face adversity with a steadfast heart, we will have perseverance, character and hope. These will give us an unswerving heart to endure needed to the very end.
Keep Your Focus. No matter what you wish to achieve in life, there will always be adversity along the way. Living the Christian life is certainly no exception. What helps us to endure is having a mind’s eye view of the goal we want to achieve. For us Christians, it is heavenly glory!
Paul wrote, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
The things of this earth will either distract our minds or discourage us from living before God as we should. When we elevate our thinking to a higher plane, the trials we face will seem small. This is because we are comparing them to eternity. This was Paul’s focus as he expressed in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. He was able to call his adversity “light affliction.” The good news is that we today can do the same!
Growing in our patience is never easy. There are times we may even want to shy away from cultivating patience. However, when we consider the benefits of having patience, we conclude that the reward far exceeds the struggle. Therefore, keep growing in the Lord!
God bless each of you.