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5-Minute Bible Studies

PATIENCE– A Five-Minute Study

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

 

Contributed by Craig E. Beckley
Teacher, Moores Hill, Indiana

July 19, 2001

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: THE APOSTLE PAUL

“But let patience have her perfect (complete) work, that you may be perfect and entire (fully developed), wanting nothing”. (James 1:4)

When we first meet Paul in the Bible, shortly after the ascension of Jesus, he was a very zealous Pharisee. He was traveling to many communities, attempting to root out the wayward Jewish sect that thought Jesus was the messiah. Paul was one of the star pupils of Gamaliel, one of the foremost Jewish theologians of his day. Paul also held the coats for the men who murdered Stephen, one of the first Christian martyrs of the church. Truly, Paul was on the fast track to do great things for God, from his perspective.

Then Paul, on his way to rout out Christians in Damascus, met the risen Jesus on the Damascus road. Paul was converted to faith in Jesus the living Messiah. And in this encounter with Jesus, Paul was blinded for three days before Ananias came and Paul received his sight:

“But the lord said unto him (Ananias), Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16)

During these three days, Paul was told about the ministry that the Lord Jesus had called him to, both the great accomplishments and the tremendous challenges.

Paul was immediately rejected by the church and viewed with great suspicion by those he was destined to minister to, Christians being ignorant or skeptical of his conversion. Here is where patience began to work. Paul knew that what God had told him, God would bring it to pass.

After what experts think may have been as long as 10 to 14 years, the Apostle Paul is called out on his first missionary trip.

“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)

Thus begins the ministry of the man who would write more of the New Testament than any other person. We see him with the same zeal with which he had persecuted the Christians. But now this zeal was in line with what God wanted him to do, not what he wanted to do for God. Ten long years of patience had equipped Paul to do God’s will, God’s way.

For ten years, Paul had to deal with his exhibited desire to work for God. How many times had he asked the Lord to allow him to get started? What we do know is that Paul continued to minister in the local churches and kept busy with what God had given him, while the Lord worked the personal ambition out of him.

Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience. (James 1:3)

If Paul was going to be obedient to God, he just had to wait, to be tested and tried, so that he would be prepared to do what the Lord wanted, all of the time.

We see in Paul’s later life, as he sat under house-arrest under the Roman Governor Felix for two years, how the patience Paul had learned back in his early ministry, allowed him to continue to trust God and eventually get to Rome which he desired.

None of us probably know, as clearly as did Paul, what the future holds. But we do know this: patience with God is the road that leads to the revelation of God’s will and wonderful plan for our lives.

PATIENCE IN OUR LIVES

Here are five “I will” principles whose practice will help incorporate the character trait of patience into our lives (you may wish to write these on a poster, board or overhead transparency).

1. I will change the things I can change and accept the things I can’t.
2. I will keep trying until I succeed.
3. I will make the most of my spare time.
4. I will not interrupt.
5. I will not complain if I don’t get my way.

Closing #1: Let’s dialog about it with one another.

  • Shift the group into small discussion groups of 3-4.
  • Encourage groups to list the hindrances in their own lives to practicing patience in their families and with acquaintances.
  • Ask groups to share their feelings with the whole group.

Closing #2: Let’s close in silent prayer, ask God:

  • To forgive you for things in your life that cause you to focus on yourself instead of the needs that are around you.
  • To show you how to practice patience in you life.
  • To make you aware of opportunities to grow in this character trait.

 
 

 

This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.

 

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