Patience Toward One Another
by Greg Thomas
“We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
The Bible has much to say concerning the patience that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are to exhibit in their walk before the Lord. Paul wrote to the Ephesians concerning their walk in Ephesians 4:1-2 saying, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.”
Why is it that believers are repeatedly called upon in the Word of God to exhibit patience with one another? As with other commands in the Bible, repetition in Scripture is a signpost to the importance of the Lord’s expectations for the believer.
Patience can be difficult to practice in our daily lives. The Lord often brings people into our path who require patience from us. The KJV Bible often translates the word for patience as “longsuffering,” meaning to be long tempered, not short tempered or not easily angered.
It is a good thing to talk about patience and to learn from the Word about the patience that we are to have in our lives, but it is wholly different when that patience is pressed into service. You might even say, “Well, I am just not a very patient person.”
The kind of patience the Bible speaks of is not a worldly brand that puts up with someone just because it is an external expectation or because it may gain something for us personally. No sinner is patient, but as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ we have been given the Holy Spirit who dwells in us permanently.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. If we are a believer, then we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and therefore we have His power to produce the fruit of patience.
The phrase “be patient” in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 is a present imperative active command from the Lord. This means that He expects patience to be an active part of my life and for it to be ongoing.
Concerning salvation, God the Father is patient toward unbelievers as He continues to give them time to repent. In 2 Peter 3:9 Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
This patience is a demonstration of God’s love as Paul reminded the Roman believers in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Patience is also a mark of our love toward one another. Paul wrote to the Corinthians who were wrangling over the priority of the gifts that “love is patient.” We are to show love toward one another by treating one another patiently, all the while still encouraging or exhorting one another toward biblical behavior.
You may find that you desire for your patience to come to an end at times because you have been wronged and you feel that justice should be administered. A willingness to be wronged but still desire the good of the other person is modeled by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit produces a patience in us that will not give up even in tough personal situations as He enables us to be steadfast and faithful in continuing to love others as we encourage them in their walk before the Lord.
Biblical patience will also display a willingness to give another believer time to come along or to correct something in their lives that will ultimately please the Lord. We may often feel the need for things to happen quickly but the Lord’s timing is perfect and so we must patiently wait upon Him as He works in the lives of those around us. We all are at various places of spiritual maturity and thankfully the Lord works with us to mature us with His perfect patience.
God has placed us together as His body here at IHCC to minister to one another. May the Lord’s evaluation be that we serve one another with hearts of love that operate with godly patience toward one another.