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How Patient Are You?
Many days, I get prayer requests. In fact, I hear from listeners often who would love for us to lift them up in prayer.
People ask us to pray for them to have wisdom, hope, and peace.
They ask us to pray for their health, surgeries, marriages, jobs, and families.
But more than anything else, I get requests for this one particular character trait.
What is it?
I’m going to tell you in just a minute.
But before I do, I want to set the stage.
Set the Stage
This year, we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about how to share and show the love of Christ with those that don’t know Him and with our family and our friends.
Recently, I shared in a podcast about the need some of us may have to go back to kindergarten and remember how to get along with other people.
You can listen to that podcast HERE.
Truly, I think it will be great for us to focus on how we can improve our relationships this year.
Bible Basis for Our Series
If you read First Corinthians 13–a passage that’s often read at weddings–we are told that:
Faith, hope, and love are all amazing qualities.
However, the greatest of these qualities is love.
John 13:35 tells us,
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Pastor Adrian Rogers put it this way:
“If you would measure your love for the Father, you must measure your love for your brother (or sister).”
Truly, real love is utterly unselfish.
Real love goes against our natural inclinations.
And real love is impossible without God’s power and help.
Jesus was asked in Mark 12 about what the greatest commandment was of all the Bible.
Here is what He said,
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’
The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
No other commandment is greater than these.”
First, love God. Then, love others as we love ourselves.
These are the two greatest commandments.
So, what does this LOVE look like?
What is love and how do we share it with others?
There’s a list that’s given in 1 Corinthians 13.
It’s a long list of the ways that we can show love to other people. And the very first trait on the list is this… “Love is patient.”
Other translations tell us that love is long-suffering or love suffers long.
Remember that the most requested prayer requests… this is what people always ask me to pray for them.
“Please pray that I’ll be more PATIENT… with my kids, or husband, or boss, or friends.”
“Please ask God to give me more patience!.”
All of the time, I get this request – for more patience!
How Patient Are You? What is patience really??
Now I don’t do this very often, but I did go to my Greek reference books and look up some words.
The Bible word for “patience” in this particular passage is a long word, but I want to share it with you.
The word is “Mak-Roth-O-Meyo.”
When I read this, I thought, “Oh, me oh!”
Bible patience involves seeking to understand people, things, and circumstances.
To be biblically patient is to be long-spirited and to patiently endure. Also, to be biblically patient is to be calm, forgiving, gentle, and quiet.
The opposite of patience includes things like haste, hurry, agitation, and being loud!
So, I have a couple of questions for you today…
Is your love patient?
Are you a patient person?
In a minute, I’m going to give you a quiz to take to see how patient you are.
Then I’m going to list five quick tips on how you can add more patience to your life beginning today.
So… How patient are you?
*Special note: All of us have a ton of patience when we’re in our pajamas, sitting in our favorite chair, and sipping a cup of coffee or tea.
HOWEVER – when the heat is turned up and the pressure comes, that’s when we discover how much patience we have.
How patient are you? Quiz question #1:
When you’re driving in heavy traffic, and someone cuts you off.
Or slams on their brakes in a hurry.
Perhaps, they turn without a turn signal.
Or just drive crazy.
Maybe they take your parking space.
How do you respond?
Do you get mad? Make a gesture at them? Yell at them in anger?
Some of the nicest folks that I know can turn into ABSOLUTELY UNRECOGNIZABLE PEOPLE behind the wheel of a car!
Love is patient–even when you’re driving your car.
(Plus, your family and your children, and your grandchildren are paying attention to how you drive and how you respond while you’re driving. Ouch!)
How patient are you? Quiz Question #2:
When you have to wait in a long line, do you get really aggravated?
At the grocery.
When you’re renewing your car tags or license.
When in line at Chick-fil-A.
Or, at the doctor’s office.
We all have to wait in line!
It’s part of life!
The question is… how well do you and I wait in line?
How patient are you? Quiz Question #3:
When your children, your grandchildren, your friends’ children, or your aging parents really get on your nerves, how do you respond?
They are too noisy, too much.
They’re too demanding.
You never get a minute alone.
You just sat down for the first time today.
Y’all know what I’m talking about.
When you’ve been pushed past your limits with your people, how do you respond?
Is your love patient?
Patience Quiz Question #4:
When your spouse (or close friend) disappoints you or doesn’t follow through or doesn’t do what they said they would do, how do you respond?
Is your love patient?
Sometimes it is easiest to be THE MOST impatient with our closest people.
How patient are you? Quiz Question #5:
When God doesn’t answer your prayers when and how you’d like for Him to answer you – how do you respond?
Are you patient with God?
Or do you pull away in hurt?
Mad at Him for being so seemingly slow?
This challenges me!!
Perhaps it challenges you too.
So, before we finish today, I’d like to give you 5 tips for how you can add a little more patience to your world.
You can start doing these things today.
There are simple things you can add to your life.
Hopefully, these ideas will give you a little more room for responding with grace and love.
First Step to Add More Patience to Your Life
Ask God to give you more grace and calm in dealing with other people.
Invite him to calm your heart.
Invite him to slow your roll.
Ask Him to help you to add more margin to your life.
For example, have you ever been working on a document and felt the need to add more room to the margins?
Or, perhaps you have been working in the kitchen, and you felt the need to clear off some items to give yourself more counter space?
Sometimes, we also have to widen the emotional margins and give ourselves more space and more room!
Give yourself a little more margin and grace in all areas of your life!
Second Step to Add More Patience to Your Life
Another thing you can do to add more margin to your life is to pray for those that drive you the most nuts!
Every single time they come to mind or do something that irritates you – pray for them!
It may not change them, but it will change you!
Third Step to Add More Patience to Your Life
Next, you can gain a little extra margin in your life by taking more deep breaths and learning to quietly walk away as needed.
Rather than react, take a time out and calm yourself.
Go take a walk if you can.
Sit outside for a few minutes.
Head to the restroom.
Take some deep breaths.
Fourth Step to Add More Patience to Your Life
Put this question at the forefront of your mind… If the roles were reversed, how would I want this person to respond to me?
Perhaps there is something you don’t know?
Maybe they are hurting or ill?
Maybe they didn’t sleep last night?
Or, perhaps someone has broken their heart?
If you were in their shoes, how would you want them to treat you?
We desperately need and want patience given to us!
And, we all want our people to show us love and grace when we are struggling!
“Give to others what you need.”
Give it out liberally! (You’ll be better, and they will too!)
**I’m not saying to excuse bad behavior, but you can speak the truth IN LOVE!!
A Final Tip
Leave early and arrive earlier.
My friend Janelle shared this tip with me,
“If I’m early everywhere, I never get in a rush.
I have so much more peace in my life just by leaving a little earlier and arriving a little earlier.”
I’ve started doing this, and it is so calming!
Of course, we can’t always do it, but if you will allow yourself a few extra minutes as possible around all of your meetings, calls, and appointments – you will be more patient.
Why do all of this?
Why do we want to seek love and to love with patience?
We do this because this is what God does with us. God is extremely patient and long-suffering with us!
Let’s go back to the beginning of this post – and the greatest prayer request that I get.
All the time, people ask me to pray for them to have patience.
Better idea! (That I often share with them when they ask!)
Rather than praying for patience, can I suggest that you and I try this instead?
An Idea for More Patience
Instead of praying for patience, why not press in close to Jesus and ask Him to make you more like Him?
Spend time with Him, and you will become a more loving person!
According to the Life Application Bible,
“The more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others.”
That’s my prayer for us today – that we will become more like Christ!
And, as we become more like Him – we will love others more!
Love others as we love ourselves.
It’s that simple!
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In Him, you and I can face the future without fear!
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