The Posture of Patience
"Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near" (James 5:7-8 NIV).
There was a time in my family when it’d come to my mother’s attention her children suffered from a terrible problem—bad posture. She feared our slumped, curved shoulders would create health issues and lead others to believe we lacked confidence. Convinced our posture would also reflect poor parenting and have long-term health issues, mom dedicated time each week to ensure we improved our posture.
Our first lesson was to observe her demonstrate proper posture. Afterwards, we began daily practice while she watched us walk a straight line with a book on top of our head. If we kept our necks erect and our shoulders rolled back to create a capital T position, we’d be able to balance the books. Finally, we’d have a test to determine if we’d mastered maintaining proper posture. This entire process entailed the following: 1) An example 2) Practice 3) A test.
Definition of posture
1a: the position or bearing of the body whether characteristic or assumed for a special purpose
b: the pose of a model or artistic figure
2: state or condition at a given time especially with respect to capability in particular circumstances
maintain a competitive posture in the market
3: a conscious mental or outward behavioral attitude
Definition of Patient: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3: not hasty or impetuous
: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity: able or willing to bear —used with of
b: susceptible, admitting
Like my mother, God also wants us to maintain good posture. However, his concern is related to our posture in exercising patience. He wants good posture or positioning when it comes to our demonstration of patience. Therefore, developing patience is about positioning for purpose.
We are reminded of how God operates to help us develop patience in Isaiah 41:10. Even when we go through times of tests or trials God tells us not to fear, because he's with us. He also tells us not to be upset because he's our God and that he'll strengthen and uphold us with his righteous hand.
How do we develop the posture of patience?
1. We must observe examples and demonstrations of patience in the bible. Jesus warned us we would be persecuted, and He told us how we should handle it: By your patience possess your souls (Luke 21:19 NKJV).
2. We must practice patience. God watches to see if we can behave as Christians when things are going well, as well as in times of trial. He knows our patience is tried when we are stressed, tired, or persecuted.
3. Our patience must be tested. We must develop this quality to demonstrate we know the character of God and what he expects from his children. In other words, we have our part to play in developing our faith. The apostle James wrote something similar about profiting from trials: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4 NKJV).
In the bible patience is an important virtue for a Christian to develop. In the book of James, the ability to turn trials, suffering, and frustrations are described as opportunities to witness for God. The bottom line is, it’s the way we handle tests of character that matter to God. It's not easy, but if we handle these tests righteously, it will produce steadfast faithfulness and patience. The bible is clear, God wants his children to have a posture of patience. This way we will prove as faithful people who glorify God in our actions
Prayer: Dear Father, Thank you for the many examples you set for me in your word. Thank for your patience with me as I work through trials and tests in this life. Help me to handle tests of character righteously so I can glorify you in all I do and face. Amen.
1. Can you recall a situation in your life that demonstrated God’s patience with you?
2. Describe a time when you needed to demonstrate patience while waiting for God to move. Explain how you felt during this time.
“Posture.” Merriam-Webster.com, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/posture. Accessed Feb. 2017.
“Patient.” Merriam-Webster.com, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/posture. Accessed Feb. 2017.
Sermon: How Can We Develop True Patience? Waiting Does Not Always Equal Patience, Martin G. Collins.