“The Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…. 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, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB)
We, the people of God through Christ Jesus, are one body with Him. In this body live many individuals of many backgrounds, colors, nationalities, and experiences, each delivered from various kinds of sins and circumstances, and holding to many understandings of truth and righteousness, established by a life of flesh. In Christ we are one, and we are each transformed in Him – death gives way to life as the old self becomes new. However, while we are perfect as God is perfect, the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, we are each continuing to be perfected until the day of Christ. We have fully arrived in the Eternal, but we aren’t there yet in our earthly existence.
In Christ’s body are many parts in varying degrees of maturity in Christ. And yet we are one, by the power of His grace. This is our calling and equipping in Christ: to be one together with Him. Put that many people of varying degrees of maturity, from so many backgrounds and perspectives of right and wrong, and we see the importance of patience.
In today’s Ephesians passage, Paul implores us “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.” Love is vital to our success in practicing patience and tolerance. In fact, if we look at 1 Corinthians 13’s list of the attributes found in God’s kind of love, Agapé begins with patience.
We cannot have patience without God’s Agapé living in us. Patience defines love. Love creates patience. They go together in a world of imperfects. Peace comes to a body dictated by love that produces patience. We are called to peace. We are called to love. We are called to unity. And Paul implores us to walk in a manor worthy of our calling.
“Love is patient, love is kind…does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 NASB
Thus, we add a key to the Unlocking of Patience
Key 4: Patience is an act of love, persevering in the unity of the Spirit, working humbly and gently with diligence of purpose to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Key 3: Patience is an act of mercy that practices endurance, denying the wrath that may be deserved, with the intent that vessels of mercy – including self – may experience the glory of God as He pours His mercy to and through us.
Key 2: Impatience passes unrighteous judgment. Patience works with kindness, tolerance, and trusting gratitude that knows and trusts God’s kindness that leads to repentance and meets every need with perfection.
Key 1: Patience is the fruit of God’s image, enlivened by the work of the Spirit in us. Patience reveals itself in us as we seek the work of God’s Spirit from a wholehearted surrender to His will and way, in the soil of a faith that trusts, believes, and receives.