Developing Patience
Colossians 3:12-13

Thanksgiving is just a week away and the Christmas shopping period has begun. These two holiday seasons generate lots of "opportunities" for developing the character quality of patience.

But, sometimes, we do not want to practice patience. We see our way blocked and we do not like it. Perhaps it is from long lines or heavy traffic. It could be ungrateful children, an uncooperative spouse or a demanding employer. Whatever the reason, we feel a strong need to take action and not wait.

Anyone can react in a negative fashion - with irritation, impatience or demands - but when Christ followers respond with kindness, gentleness and calmness, we give an awesome testimony to the transforming power of God. The Holy Spirit wants to teach us how to wait quietly in a difficult circumstance and not rush ahead or get aggravated.

Developing a patient temperament is not a smooth process. To mature in godliness means we started in immaturity so missteps are inevitable. We need to accept that we will make mistakes. In our pursuit of patience, we will find ourselves still acting in our old impatient ways from time to time. It is important to forgive ourselves when it happens and try again, remembering we already have God's forgiveness (1 John 1:9). The Spirit will help us make fewer of them.

Start each day acknowledging that difficulties will come and commit to practicing patience. Ask for the Holy Spirit's help and then move ahead forgiving yourself and learning from each mistake. We are all a "work in progress." This Thanksgiving season take advantage of every "opportunity" to demonstrate patience.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.