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Scripture: Colossians 3:12-13; 1 Peter 2:23;1 Peter...
Track 8 of in the series
Patience is something that grows on you. You just dont wake up one day and become patient. We grow in patience. Patience is a quality and it is something we are to apply, not just have.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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The Practice Of Godliness

Christian character is like a single photo blended into varying colors and shades. From normal distance the picture looks to be one image but under examination reveals that it takes a combination of different colors to produce the overall effect. The casual observer is not too concerned with those various colors and hues, he notices and appreciates the pictures overall affect. In fact, he canít even see the millions of dots and screens but the creator of that image, in order to get that image on paper, has to consider each color, dot and pixel individually, enduring the right shade and colors correctly, so the eye sees what the creator intended.

Did you know that the human eye can see over 16 million hues of color? Our eye is an unbelievable piece of equipment. What it capable of and what it has the power to see is remarkable. In fact, through technology, we canít even come close to reproducing that wide a range of color. My challenge when putting images on paper is to fool the eye into thinking it sees what I what it to see. I can only print 6,000 hues of color and I do that by using on 4 colors of ink. We call that process, CMYK or 4 color process. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

Some of the traits of godly character appear to blend together such as different shades of color in a picture or a rainbow. Patience, for example, closely resembles joy and peace in its effects upon our lives. The word patience as we use it in everyday speech, actually stands for several different words in the New Testament, and is used to describe a godly reaction to a variety of situations. These different words and usages blend together to produce an overall quality or image.

The truly patient Christian must display godly patience in all of the various circumstances requiring it. Just as the graphic designer or a pressman that prints a beautiful image must consider each screen dot, so the Christian who desires to grow in patience must give attention to each facet of this quality as it appears in his life.

The one point I have to make here is the point that patience is something that grows on you. You just donít wake up one day and become patient. We grow in patience. Patience is a quality and it is something we are to apply, not just have. It is a reaction, a godly reaction to circumstances around us as they happen. It is a beautiful quality. It is one of the qualities about God that stands out from the world. When we display it, it does attract attention.

Give me your perceptions about patience. What does it look like and how does it react to circumstances?

We see in Colossians 3:12-13 the spirit of how patience is to work with other godly characteristics: Therefore, as Godís chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Suffering Mistreatment
One aspect of patience involves enduring abuse. The Bibleís response to suffering at the hands of others is called long-suffering. This aspect of patience is the ability to suffer a long time under the mistreatment of others without growing restful and bitter. I donít know about you, but I find long-suffering hard.

What can we expect as a reaction from the world when being mistreated?

The occasions for exercising this quality are numerous. What are the various circumstances a Christian can find himself in that would require long-suffering? Ridicule, scorn, insults, undeserved rebukes, malicious wrongs, practical jokes, outright persecution, office politics, an unbelieving spouse.

How do we grow this type of quality on our lives? In everyday life, this is hard thing to master. What must we consider to allow this quality to grow in our lives?

ē We must consider the justice of God: Peter reminds the slaves who needed to be patient under unjust treatment by their harsh master how Jesus handled it.

1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

What is the opposite of retaliation? To entrust ourselves to God. God will judge justly and he promises to repay those who persecute the church and Christians.

One of the thoughts that most disturbs a suffering Christian who has not learned patience is this issue of justice. He is concerned that his tormentor will escape justice, that he will not receive the punishment he deserves. The patient Christian who suffers leaves this issue in the hands of God. He is confident that God will render justice in his own time. Instead of hoping and waiting for the opportunity for revenge, he prays for Godís forgiveness of his tormentors, just as Jesus did on the cross.

ē We must consider the faithfulness of God: God promises to work on our behalf. So we must believe that God will do this as he promised and act upon it.

1 Peter 4:19 So then, those who suffer according to Godís will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Joseph was a great example of this when he dealt with his brothers. After he was abused by his brothers, he was able to say to them, ďyou intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many livesĒ. Joseph was patient and it allowed him to see the good intentions of God during the hard times. Who knows what would have happened to Joseph, Jacob and the rest of Israel had Joseph taken revenge on his brothers.

Responding When Youíre Provoked

How do you respond when someone tries to get you mad or arouses your anger? What goes through your mind? Do you control it or does it eat you up? How do you overcome it?

Responding to provocation is different than suffering mistreatment. Mistreatment by others is most of the time out our control. But provocation finds us in a position of power to do something about it. It may come in the defiance of our authority Ė a patient teacher, a supervisor on the job, a parent dealing with a rebellious child or a deliberate goading or nagging of us. Whatever the form the action takes, it is often deliberate, and we are in the position to retaliate or punish swiftly and harshly. The kind of patience needed during these times is the one often described of God called slow to anger.

There are many times in the Bible where we find examples of God dealing with his people using this kind of patience. Give me some examples.

What do you think our lives would be like if God did not posses this kind of patience? How do we go about growing this slowness to anger? What steps should we take?

James 1:19-21 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for manís anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Tolerating Shortcomings

True or False: I am a tolerant person
On a scale of 1-10, where do you fit?

This is really a hard one because this is the one we are most confronted with. I donít know about you but I donít get persecuted very often by others and I donít get provoked very often either. Either it doesnít happen much or I am better at dealing with those things. But tolerating the shortcomings of others is one that confronts most of us everyday. For me, it is dealing with the idiots in life. In scriptures, this kind of patience is directed at how we deal with our families and our fellow Christians.

How a person behaves sometimes, even though not intentionally directed at us, can affect us, irritate us or disappoint us. What are some of the actions of others that cause us to sin and not display patience?

What do you think the root of impatience is? PRIDE usually is the problem with this sin.

How does pride work in the impatient person? Pride many times tells the person that he is better than, more capable than or smarter than the person that he is impatient with. And in some cases, he might be correct.

How does God want us to think or what attitude does he want us to have in these situations?

1 Cor. 4:7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

The patient reaction to the faults and failures of others is probably best described by the word, forbearance. Literally the word can mean, ďto put up withĒ and can be used in a negative sense of grudging endurance of anotherís faults. That is obviously NOT how Paul uses the word.

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Paul uses the word forbearance in the sense of gracious tolerance of anotherís faults. Since forbearance is not a common word used in the daily language of America, the word tolerance is probably best used to describe this aspect of patience.

In our society today, the call is for tolerance. What is the difference between the worldís definition of tolerance and the Bibleís definition?

What is the final result of tolerance in the church? What is it designed to do or protect?

Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

How hard is it for you to allow someone to make a mistake? Are you a person who can allow yourself to make a mistake?

One of the worst things you can do sometimes is make a mistake in church. How may times has a Christian been driven from fellowship because the church did not posses the forbearance required of Christians? Or how many church fights have there been because the preacher, some leader or group of leaders messed up?

Forbearance requires an attitude of forgiveness. Without this attitude, patience will never be a part of your Christian life. Paul equates forbearance with forgiveness in

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.