“ [I] urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
Eph. 4:1-2, ESV
The other morning was a typical school morning. Breakfasts chowed down, clothes thrown on, shoes found, backpacks grabbed… all whirling out the door on to another day. Except for son #2. Everyone else was in the car and ready to go while he was still looking for his shoes. Usually, I would rush, rush, rush him in my actions and words, berating him for not moving faster. Then he would dissolve into a puddle on the floor and go to the car in tears because he had failed to move fast enough once again.
This morning, however, the Spirit slowed me down. He whispered in my ear words of patience and kindness. Instead of rushing my son, I waited patiently while he put on his shoes. He jumped up with a smile and bounded out the door ready to face the day, much faster than if I would have poured words of condemnation over him.
What a difference patience makes! Practicing patience may not seem like an ideal way to abide in Jesus. It seems hard and sometimes a waste of our time. However, when we abide in Jesus, we not only stay in close relationship to him through spending time with him, but we also follow his commands (John 15:10) and one of those commands is to love others as he loved us.
I missed that idea until recently. I sought to abide in Jesus through doing fun things like worship and prayer, strolling through his creation and drawing what I saw, but I’ve realized that our abiding in Jesus is shown just as much in the way we love others as it is in the way we love Jesus. Actually, loving others well is loving Jesus well (I John 4:20).
To help us know what love looks like, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own ways. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (NLT)
Did you catch it? Patience is first. When we seek to abide in Jesus, part of that is being patient with others. Just like with my son, patience can make the difference in a day gone wrong or a day that empowers. Patience can refresh a weary heart, whereas impatience can dry up their strength.
Think back to the last time someone was impatient with you. Do you remember the destructiveness of their words and body language? How their impatience did nothing to help you move forward but only held you back?
Today, let’s Abide in Jesus by loving others well through the gift of patience.
Think about three areas where you’re tempted to be impatient.
How can you plan ahead to work toward being more patient at those times? For example, I’m prone to impatience during the morning rush. Doing some tasks at night like getting the boys’ lunches ready and placing their backpacks, shoes, and coats by the front door at night helps us stay on time in the mornings. I found getting them up 5 min earlier helps, too.
Consider some ways you can practice patience and set yourself up to be more patient in one of the areas you wrote down above.
Abiding with Kids
Kids find being patient just as hard if not harder than we do. Brainstorm with them a time when they are tempted to be impatient. Is it waiting for dinner, for their turn on a game, to go somewhere fun? What are some ways you can help them practice patience during that time? For example, my boys struggle with waiting for dinner. To help, I have cheese and veggies available for snacks, or I might have them help with supper or set the table while they wait.
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