Today the A-Z challenge continues and the letter of the day is P. As I pondered on various p-topics, two words were plastered in the forefront of mind-patience and perseverance. Unlike you perhaps, I don’t always like the sound of the word of patience. It conjures up ideas of extended periods of waiting, waiting, and waiting. Rather it’s waiting in line, being delayed by a slow driver in traffic, or sitting idly in the doctor’s office, I don’t always exhibit much patience. I become antsy, anxious, and complain because it’s seems like such a waste of time not being able to progress at faster speeds.
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines patience as the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient. Patient is defined as bearing pains or trials calmly without complaint; not hasty; manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain; steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity. In some cases, the only choice we have other than waiting is forgoing the item or experience. Patience has to do with my attitude during the wait. And did you know that God is concerned about how we wait in life? The Word of God is filled with promises but they don’t appear overnight; there’s a time to wait on the fulfillment of the promise. Because He is God we can’t control the timing of the promise’s arrival; so waiting is inevitable but our attitude during this period is pretty important.
In my reading, I came across Colossians 1:10-12 which states, And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (NIV) I like to compare various translations of scripture and really like the Amplified version of verse 11- [We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy. The Message gives another look at Colossians 1:9-10 Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
These passages of scripture speak volumes to me today. If I’m to have any increase in fruitfulness, productivity, or knowledge of God in my life, patience and perseverance are going to be essential. To accomplish any goal, like weight loss for example, one must persist in a particular state or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition or discouragement. And God knows that I have failed to complete some things I started in life. Some things I started out strong but quickly became discouraged or too impatient to see the end results. Looking at the passage, I see two other important P’s to incorporate in my life-prayer and power. My human power alone will only get me so far but being infused with His power gives me the ability to wait patiently and persevere. And prayer helps to tap into the greater power.
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Flickr photo by Jacob Garcia