2 Peter 1:5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
Patience is one of those attributes that you cannot learn by reading about it. It's a quality that can only be acquired by persistent, enduring, practice– and for me it's a drill that I go over, and over, and over again!
The original Webster's dictionary offers this definition of patience: "the suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness, from a kind of heroic pride, or from a Christian submission to the divine will."
Reading this definition two things really struck me – first, "endurance without murmuring". I, for instance, get so frustrated sitting in a traffic jam... counting the wasted minutes when I could have been doing something useful! Yet, what an opportunity for me to choose to quench the inner fumes – and use the delay to work on my patience!
The second thing that really hit me was, "a Christian submission to the divine will." How many times are we placed in a difficult position, or forced to deal with an "impossible" situation? Or perhaps, an "impossible" person? These circumstances are always opportunities to grow in patience – or to learn to submit to God's providential will, and often, to minister in some special or unique way.
Is your patience being tested today? Great! Remember, love is (first of all) patient. [1 Cor. 13:4] The Lord is training you toward godliness –- and godliness is moving toward perfect love. With so much work to be done, He is really wanting to work this quality into your character now -– to perfect your love, and with it to transform the world around you for His glory!