Bible Verse: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Hebrews 12:12)

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:1-21

To be an effective intentional encourager, revealing the majesty of God to others, you need patience and lots of it.

Think of individual persons whom you know who are broken, struggling, and who need someone with sufficient patience to take time for them. Rather than ignoring or avoiding them, they need you and me to make time to pray for them, making an effort to put ourselves in their shoes. God seeks persons like you to make a transforming difference in the life of such a person. Such persons can be restored to their original potential and become “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Transforming people requires something that only God can give – huge amounts of patience. Such patience will be more readily available to you when you realize and give thanks for the incredible patience that God has displayed in your life!

The Bible reveals patience as a “fruit of the Spirit” – a characteristic of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Galatians 5:22). To develop patience is to develop a quality of Christ in your life. A patient Christian will reveal much more of the beauty and grace of Christ to those with whom he or she works.

The Greek word makrathumia means to be ‘large’ in self-restraint or self-control. It refers to your ability to restrain yourself in specific situations or relationships. With God’s help you can choose to restrain yourself in acting gracefully toward someone who has wronged you. It is an active response.

This word for active patience is used in the Bible for God. “[The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish” (2 Peter 3:9). Think about patience from God’s point of view. God did not make us as robotic creatures who automatically do everything exactly as He desires. He made us as human beings who have the capacity to think, reason, feel and choose what to say or do or where to go. God wants us to love Him deeply, but He also wants us to make our own decision about loving and serving Him. Having creatures with a will of their own makes it all the more amazing that God would be so patient with our rebellion and wayward living.

It is also used for people. “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming” (James 5:7). You might say, “But how can I be patient until Jesus returns? That might mean that I have to restrain and control myself in a wide variety of situations throughout my life.” Exactly! The great news is – you don’t have to develop and express this kind of patience all on your own. As the Apostle Paul declared to followers of Jesus in the old Greek city of Philippi, “It is God who works in you to will and to act for his good purpose!” (Philippians 2:13). Isn’t this incredible? You can have all the patience you need as you put your complete dependence and trust in the God who is patience personified.

— Stewart Brown in Majesty in Motion: Creating an Encouragement Culture in All Your Relationships ©2009 Word Alive Press.

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