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Session 4

You can be patient, even when you don’t feel like it

Read: Ephesians 4:1-13

Ephesians 4:2 teaches us to, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Sometimes it proves hard to be patient with others, especially when their struggle is something we don’t deal with ourselves. Sometimes we have trouble being patient with ourselves because we don’t live up to our own expectations.

How can we be patient when it proves so difficult?

Impatience is part of our sin nature, but God has given us a new nature. Think how quickly a baby can switch from quiet to screaming when he becomes hungry. We’re not born with the ability to be patient, but when we accept Jesus’ forgiveness, we are given that ability.

Galatians 5:22-25 reminds us, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control....Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives..” (NLT) The Holy Spirit in us gives us the ability to be patient even when we don’t feel it.

God models patience in the way He deals with us. God could bring the world to an end at any moment, but He waits so that all may come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). God’s relentless pursuit of us — sending us opportunity after opportunity to see Him for who He is — is perhaps the clearest picture of His patience.

In 1 Timothy 1:16, Paul says, “I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”

God gives us the ability to be patient and shows us what patience looks like so that we might share that gift with others. As we practice being patient, this gift will grow in us and influence the lives of those we lead.

Reflect:

  • Think back over the events that brought you where you are today. How has God been patient with you?
  • What are some situations where you find it difficult to be patient with others?
  • Think of a specific person you find it difficult to be patient with. How could an increase in your ability to be patient change that relationship?

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