Written by: Mike Priestap — Edinboro Site Pastor
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 5:1–8)
Do you ever have trouble with patience? Have you ever been told not to pray for patience because if you do, then your patience will be tested? I don’t know about you but my patience is tested every day, whether I’ve prayed for it or not. I especially get tested when I am in a hurry.
I was in the drive thru at a popular fast food establishment several years ago to grab a quick burger before heading to an appointment. I sat in the line and figured that I would have just enough time to order, grab my food and eat while zipping to my destination. I placed my order and drove around to pay when I saw a traffic jam in front of me. I sat for several minutes and had not even made it to the payment window when I realized that the traffic was backed up behind me as well. I was boxed in. There was no way that I could move. And so I sat. For 15 minutes. Needless to say, I was fuming by the time I got to the window to pay and then did not want to eat when I received my burger, because my anger had replaced the hunger.
In the 15 minutes that it took for me to get my “fast food,” I became a different person. When I entered that line, I was happy, pleasant, loving…..Godly. How could this change happen so fast? I realized in my moment of wanting everything fast that the only quick thing that occured in that line was me getting angry. And it was all because of my lack of patience. And I did it to myself. No one asked me to get in that line. I made the choice.
In that 15 minutes of drive thru misery, I was doing exactly the opposite of what Paul is encouraging us to practice in the above passage. As I allowed my own narrow minded selfishness take over, I became impatient, unloving and drifted far from being Godly. I spoke in a harsh way to the people who were working and later sent an email to the owner, making sure that he knew of my terrible experience. At that moment, life became all about me.
When we make it all about us, we lose sight of God.
Imagine what would have happened if Jesus had made it all about His needs and not our need? We needed salvation. We needed re connected to our Father in heaven. Jesus knew this all along and He remembered it as well. And so He stayed on task. On mission. With patient endurance.
And so I tried to begin praying for endurance and anticipating those moments when my patience would be tested. I began allowing myself extra time when I would go places and to think about how I was treating people and if this is how Jesus would have acted.
I discovered that the greatest tests of my patience came when I was most concerned about me and thought little of those around me. I began to let God teach me more about patient endurance, and found these three elements as helpful steps in building that endurance:
- Read God’s Word. This will equip you with God’s wisdom and prepare you with a proper response for the situations and people that you may encounter throughout your day.
- Pray. Spending time in prayer first thing in the morning and whenever you think of God during the day is important. (even in the drive thru) This helps you to be reminded more of Him and less of you.
- Serve. Jesus said “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” When we deliberately place others first, we begin to walk in the steps of Jesus and become less concerned about our own selves.
Begin to practice these three simple steps and let God begin to build patient endurance in you with His perfect timing. And remember, there is no fast faith, just fast food. And sometimes even that isn’t fast.