Why Patience Is Needed!

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Titus 1:1-5 NIV

Patience is mentioned 34 times in the New Testament and patient mentioned 9 times in the Bible (once in Old Testament in Ecclesiastes). I’ve concluded–speculatively–that patience was not a strong character trait in many before Christ made an appearance. I base this speculation on the fact that the Children of Israel were so impatient with God, that they moved away from His guidance in an effort to more like other nations (needing a king,etc).

Here–in Paul’s instructions to Titus--we see a reason for patience and that reason is to teach others how to walk in the light of God’s love. If we really want to others to learn something well, we must be willing to patiently teach them–expecting them to make mistakes, but will be quick to hear correction.

This then may explain why some people are not good teachers–spiritually or naturally. If we get angry or frustrated with those we attempt to teach–we actually inhibit their desire to learn. One of the reasons we tend to get impatient with people is because we forget the road we traveled to get where we are. Someone had to have patience with us in order for us to know what we know. Even if much of what we know was through an inquisitive nature where we sought information on our own, we still had to exercise patience with ourselves.

Not to long ago, a person who observed my teaching a class told me that I had the patience of job with my students. I was amazed at her assessment because I do not always think I’m very patient with students when I’ve repeated myself–ad nauseum. At any rate, I realized that she was referring to my ability to give them time to think about a question before providing them with an answer. In fact, I seldom provide answers to questions when reviewing information–I simply wait until someone comes up with the right answer and I confirm. Teaching is not about trying to pour information into someone’s head, but about giving them the tools they can use to draw conclusions on their own.

Think about it! How long did it take us to realize that the answers we needed were found in Jesus Christ.  Questions about life and direction–found in Jesus. The voids we felt in our lives–filled with Jesus. And with me–He was very patient until I honed in what life really meant.

So, with patience–with self and others–will we move forward in teaching others about how to live the life God wants for us.

 

Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

“Love the LORD, all you godly ones! For the LORD protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant. So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!” (Psalm 31:23,24 NLT)

When the world appears to be falling apart all around us, many wonder–why is God letting this happen? Every day–we hear about tragedies–genocides, homicides, suicides, hatred, violence, people starving, people homeless, people dying from lack of drinkable water, and appropriate medical access–all of this is happening all around us, everyone is complaining, but not many are doing anything about it.

Are those of us who are “godly ones” loving God? Are we loyal to Him or are we the arrogant?

Just because we say, “we love God” if we are not doing, Love, we lie. There are many who say they love Him and many more who deny His existence. In order for us to understand what befalls us in life, we must understand where our loyalties lie.

There are some people who would never betray their job–they are there every day, on time, going above and beyond their job description in order to amass the attention of those who can help them move up.

There are those who would never betray a gang member–they want to impress and are determined how loyal they are by doing all the stupid things the gangs say do–kill, assault, steal–whatever it takes.

There are those who would never betray a spouse–doing everything they can please them even when they are being abused–emotionally, physically, and verbally–they are loyal to a fault.

There are those who would never betray a friend–they keep their secrets even when they shouldn’t, they will lie for them, cheat for them, always looking for ways to demonstrate their loyalty.

Are we as determined to demonstrate our loyalty to God as we are to other people? Yes, we need people in our lives–who are godly people, but they should never take the place of God in our lives. It is He who provides us everything we need and in some cases–He even brought that spouse, or job or friend into our lives, but the minute we develop a relationship with the people–we forget about our loyalty to God. When we forget about being loyal to God, stuff happens and if we’re honest with ourselves, we have no need to wonder why.

When our loyalty to people supersedes our loyalty to God–we stop interceding in our prayer life, we stop caring about others that are not in our circle, we look at the homeless and hungry and say, “that’s too bad–I’m praying for you.” We would rather look the other way than get involved with legislators who have yet to prove they know how to legislate for the benefit of all people. Our loyalties are limited to the circle that encompasses us and there is no room for God. This is why we see tragedies all around us.  We have misplaced loyalties.

When our loyalties are to God–He protects us–but the arrogant–those who think they don’t need Him or have to acknowledge His existence, are the ones who are beyond His protection.

Where do your loyalties lie today?