A Virtue Worth Pursuing…

Imagine the following:

First, at home, your five-year-old child throws a tantrum and refuses to follow your instructions and creates a mess.

Second, at work, you have a colleague who often makes simple mistakes thus creating problems that result in logjams in your group project.

Third, in church, you are frustrated with a member who irritates you with his abrasive words and behaviour.

How should we respond to the persons described above? Well, we are to exercise calmness and patience! As God’s chosen people, we are to clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col 3:12).

And Paul urges believers, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3)

As we mature in the faith, we develop patience, which is one of the virtues of the Spiritual fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.

What are other reasons for us to exercise patience in difficult situations?

First, impatience can be destructive. It can close doors and ruin the chance of dialogue and reconciliation. Many times, an impatient person may utter words that he will regret and which may cause irreparable damage to a relationship.

Second, we should exercise patience because that was what our Lord Jesus did and we are to emulate Him. Despite His hectic ministry of teaching and caring in the midst of His being persecuted, Jesus was never hurried as He ministered to people pastorally, purposefully and patiently.

How then are we to cultivate the virtue of patience?

By ourselves, we can do nothing. Our progress requires the continual process of engaging with, learning from and depending on our Lord, with constant prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit. It is also important to give and receive mutual support from our community of believers, and be accountable to them based on truth and love.

Also, as patience is not a virtue that can be cultivated overnight, we should persevere and be teachable in obeying and following God and accepting His discipline. Personally, as a follower of Christ, I have much to learn from Him.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, are we humble and willing enough to be guided by Him?