I am in the midst of a preaching series called Foundational Attitudes; Developing the Mind of Christ. Yesterday the attitude was patience. I Cor 13:4 Love is patient. I shared how my grandson Jack is helping grow in patience. He even taught me how to wait patiently at the doctor’s office prior to his cast being removed.
Looking back through my blog, I discovered that patience has been a growth area for me. I have written about patience in several posts:
Patience and beyond January 2011
The Strength of Patience March 2011
The Happiness of Patience March 2011
Waiting for Patience April 2013
From these it appears that I am a slow impatient learner!
Yet I also realize that patience is cultivated and grown over time. It is not instantaneous. Yesterday I discussed how we cultivate patience in daily circumstances, with other people and with ourselves. .
Robert Roberts writes about this in his excellent book: The Strengths of a Christian (1984) in which he describes how we cultivate patience with other people – our neighbors in Christ.
Dwelling gladly in the presence of the neighbor does not often, or at first, come naturally to us, any more than dwelling gladly in the presence of God. The neighbor is almost by Christian definition someone in whose presence it is difficult to dwell gladly. . . . But worse than being boring, the neighbor may be positively repulsive in one way or another or may be in some need that requires attention, time or some kind of sacrifice. (P. 78)
So a peculiarly Christian answer to the question of how one goes about centering on one’s neighbor is this: Remind yourself, when you are impatient, that this is a brother or sister for whom Christ died, one who like you, is precious in the sight of God. Look at the eyes, the skin, the mouth, and listen to the voice, and remind yourself that this is the flesh that God took upon himself in Jesus. And so your gratitude to God is summoned up as a power of patience, and thus of love. (p 81)
When have you had to cultivate patience in your relationships with others?
Lord Jesus, teach me to cultivate patience by see you in my neighbor.