Since patience is a virtue (2Peter 1:6), it should be no great surprise that Satan would often challenge us with the temptation to be impatient.

Most people have had a lot of practice being impatient. We have grown accustomed to having what we want, when we want it. When that doesn’t happen, we frequently become impatient, which inevitably leads to other problems.

A child may throw a tantrum if he has to wait his turn, or if his parents won’t buy what he wants — right now! This immature attitude may simply be validation of the old saying, “The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Many young parents have insisted on having — from the get-go — every advantage their parents had worked many years to obtain. Instead of patiently putting up with a used vehicle until they could afford to buy a brand-new car, they go ahead and buy one anyway.  Often a second family income is necessary to pay for a luxury, and that demands a second car which might not otherwise be necessary.

The problem with impatience is that it is a chronic condition. … Getting what you want becomes a habit that is hard to break. Before “wants” are paid for, we convince ourselves that we “need” other things, and we need them now! Impatience in material matters is bad enough, but it’s especially destructive when it rears its ugly head in even more important areas of life. If patience has not been developed early in life, young people will likely become impatient in fulfilling their sexual urges and will convince themselves that they “deserve” the pleasures reserved for marriage — especially if they are “in love.”

Christians must fight against impatience in dealing with one another. We are commanded to “be patient with all” (1Thes. 5:14), including the unruly, faint-hearted, and weak. In all our teaching we must show patience (2 Tim. 2:24).

We may even become somewhat impatient with our own pursuit of righteousness. For that reason, we are warned not to “grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9). God promises great things to “those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Rom. 2:7). Even when our righteousness brings trouble to us in the short-term, we are reminded to be “patient in tribulation” (Rom. 12:12), for as we are reminded in another place, “be patient until the coming of the Lord…Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7-8). — (Via Think on These Things, January-February-March 2005)


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