Jason lovingly handed me this book and asked me to read Chapter 7 entitled Patience. (hmmmm, I wonder why?! 🙂 )It is the only chapter of this book I have read, but still I commend it to you if you want to grow in patience.
In the chapter on Patience, Jerry Bridges gives five aspects of patience.
1. suffering mistreatment
2. responding to provocation
4. waiting on God
5. persevering through adversity
I was very convicted by the aspects of responding to provocation and tolerating shortcomings – mostly with regards to my children. Here is how Jerry Bridges describes provocation:
I use the word provocation to denote those actions of others that tend to arouse our anger or wrath – that cause us to lose our temper. Unlike mistreatment by others, which is often out of our control, provocation finds you in a position of power to do something about it…Whatever form the provocation takes, it is often deliberate, and we are in a position ot retaliate or punish swiftly and harshly.
Oh, how that gripped my heart when I first read it. How often do I retaliate to childish noises, inconveniences, and silliness with harsh retaliation or punishment. He continues to say, “The best way to develop this slowness to anger is to reflect frequently on the patience of God toward us.” He then illustrates with the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18.
With regard to tolerating shortcomings Bridges makes the direct connection to our pride. He reminds us of 1 Cor 4:7 and that “whatever abilities we possess have been given to us by God, so we have no reason to feel that we are any better than anyone else.” He also draws the distinct connection between love and forbearance.
He gives the greatest motivator for patiently forebearing:
God patiently bears with us, and every day, we are tempted to become impatient with our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. and our faults and failures before God are so much more serious than the petty actions of others that tend to irritate us! God calls us to graciously bear with the weaknesses of others, tolerating them and forgiving them even as He has forgiven us.
Patience is a virtue I desire to grow in, and Jerry Bridges’ helpful insights and connections to the gospel have proved a means of grace to me.