Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 (ESV)
We were God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), but we didn’t act like it when we came into this world. We were enemies of God (Romans 5:10). However, God was patient toward us to bring us to salvation, not willing that any of his chosen ones should perish (2 Peter 3:9). None of us have yet reached a state of perfection, even now God remains patient toward us and extends mercy toward us every day (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Paul wrote to Timothy, But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16 ESV) Paul claimed to be the foremost of sinners and his reason for having received mercy was so that the perfect patience of Jesus would be displayed as an example to believers. That is exactly why God extended mercy toward us; to display his perfect patience for the praise of his glorious grace. And the same patience Jesus displayed toward Paul and us is an example of the patience we should have toward one another. We are to wear this patience like a garment.
Jesus shared a parable of a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. One of the king’s servants who owned the king an amount of money that he could not repay, was called to appear before the king. When the servant could not settle his account the king ordered that he should be sold along with his family and possessions and payment be made. The servant implored the king, “Have patience with me and I will pay you everything.” The king was moved with pity and forgave the debt. The servant left the king and found another servant who owed him a small fraction of what he had owed the king. After being chocked by the first servant, the second servant pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” The first servant refused to have patience with him and had him thrown into prison. When news of this came to the king he summoned the first servant, scolded him and had him delivered to the jailers until he could pay the debt. Jesus went on to say that if we do not have patience and forgive our brothers the heavenly Father will do the same to us as was done to the wicked servant (Matthew 18:23-35 ESV).
Paul exhorted the Ephesian church, I . . . urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called . . . with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV) Patience is a fruit that our lives will produce if we are walking in a manner worthy of our calling and filled with the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
There is also a patience we wear to run the race of the Christian life. Paul prayed that the Colossians would be strengthened with power for endurance and patience (Colossians 1:11). The writer of Hebrews urged his readers to be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12).
Does your life exemplify the patience of God?
Scriptures for meditation:
2 Corinthians 6:6
2 Peter 3:15