Love is patient… ~1 Corinthians 13:4
“Love is patient.” We’ve heard this verse so many times, that we rarely stop and think about what it’s actually saying. I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty impatient person. Someone tells me to be patient, and I roll my eyes. I’ve always been about five steps ahead of myself, doing the “why-must-I-wait?” dance, hoping that I could grow up sooner, get married quickly, get out of school and start living my life already. This carries into my relationships.
First of all, I cannot stand waiting on God. I’m continually asking, “Why can’t my timing be Your timing?” Who do I think I am? I know I’m not smarter or wiser than God, so why I do I pretend to be? Part of it is our fallen nature. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a control-freak. That’s part of my selfishness coming through. Whoever said “the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8), knew what he was talking about. And, well, remember that one angel, Lucifer, who thought he could commandeer the universe? It turns out he’s got a little bone to pick with God, and he’s trying his damnedest to take down God’s people and feed us a little bit of his own medicine. So, don’t worry, impatience, even with God, is not uncommon.
If I’m impatient with a perfect God, I’m certainly impatient with imperfect people—other drivers on the road, significant others, friends, authority, the world in general. I don’t like to be late. I also get impatient when I see a problem in the world and a simple solution and somehow they don’t meet immediately. It’s frustrating. If I’m supposed to love my neighbor, I have a feeling I might be missing something.
Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. The implication is that if one receives the Holy Spirit, a natural product would be patience. Sounds too easy, right? There’s got to be a catch. Well, truthfully, so many people assume that the Holy Spirit dwells with them because they said a prayer once to accept Christ as their Savior. That’s wonderful, but it’s only the beginning.
“Ah, here’s the catch,” you say. It’s not so much a catch as it is an explanation. You see, Jesus states in John 15:4 (another “fruit” passage) that one must abide in Him to bear fruit. Abiding is the act of enduring, remaining, or continuing with someone or something. It implies constant attention to its subject and living each moment with it. Abide in Christ—live in Christ. Let your soul remain attached to Him, gleaning from His Word. Allow for your time and effort to be taken up by Him, and you will naturally yield patience (along with the other fruits of the Spirit).
I have a warning, though. This will not come easy, nor will it come right away. It’s going to take some patience.