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4th August - Patience Is A Virtue

The old adage "patience is a virtue" is one most of us are familiar with. But what is patience, and what does it look like?

A definition of patience is "waiting without complaint". And there are many times we have the opportunity to exercise patience. From waiting to be old enough to do something or go somewhere, waiting for a promotion, giving ourselves time to gain an education or to learn new skills, taking the time to save financially, waiting to meet your partner, waiting for a child to be born, waiting for the right time, the right place and the right "God moment".

Life is full of waiting, and it's the art of waiting without complaint that most of us often lack. Instead, we exhibit the opposite trait of impatience, which far too often manifests in us as complaining, irritability, anger, and lack of self-control.

But God has a better way. He wants us to trust Him and know that He always has the best in mind for us.

I've discovered that God's best can take a little more time and organising on God's behalf before it arrives in our life than we would usually like, but that's where patience goes to work. Without patience, we can give up, consider letting go of our hopes and dreams, and easily get into doubt, disbelief and impatient complaining.

Perhaps that's because the root of our impatience is, more often than not, fear. Fear that God doesn't care or even sees us, fear that things won't work out, that we will fail or be left alone, and that our dreams and prayers won't eventuate. When we allow fear to dictate our emotions and thoughts, we can easily grow impatient because we start to believe the worst and the negative. Faith and fear are opposites, so where there is fear, our faith isn't operating as it should, and patience is not at work.

The Bible talks about patience and our faith working together. We can set out believing in God for that great job, partner, holiday, new baby, or just a parking spot on a hectic day at the shops. But unless we exercise patience – "waiting without complaint", then our faith often won't work. We undo our prayers and believe by our negative, impatient words of complaint. It's by faith and patience working together that we receive.

"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." (Hebrews 6:12)

There is, however, an answer to our impatience! It is in drawing near Jesus and reading what He says in His word, the Bible. The closer we are to Him, the more patient we become. The more we know and meditate on His word, the more faith we have.

As our faith grows, the more we trust Him, the more patient we become. Patience is one of the offshoots, or as the Bible calls it, fruits of growing healthy relationships with God.

"Come near to God, and he will come near to you." (James 4:8)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

Today if you are struggling with impatience and all the character issues that go along with that, don't give up. Don't succumb to the temptation to relinquish your dreams and what you believe and pray for. Spend time with Jesus, and allow His love and kindness to heal your disappointments and negativity.

Let His Word sink in, encourage and renew your thinking, and strengthen your faith. If you continue to take the time every day to do that, you'll soon discover that the fruit of patience will grow in your life, as it undergirds your faith to "wait patiently without complaining."

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your plan and purpose for all my life. Please help me to keep trusting you for the best in my life. and to not give up because it may be taking longer than I would like. Please help me to wait patiently, trusting that you have it all under control, in Jesus Name, Amen.

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