Learning to be Patient

Wayne Cordeiro

"So when Phinehas the priest and the leaders ... heard the words which the sons of Reuben spoke ... it pleased them. ...and they did not speak of going up against them in war" (Joshua 22: 31,33)
Another civil war was averted! Thank God. It seemed like the people back then were always so predisposed to going to war with one another!

The sons of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had decided to build their homes on the opposite side of the Jordan, and fearing that one day in the future, their sons might forget that they were cousins, the elders built an altar of remembrance. It was to be a witness that they were of the same family of Israelites!

Misunderstanding their intent and thinking that they were establishing a new worship temple exclusively unto themselves, their cousins on the Israeli side get equipped for a battle. In full array, they head off to confront their rebellious cousins ... a family feud was about to begin.

But after listening to an appropriate explanation, they lay down their swords and went home. Another war could have taken the lives of hundreds because of only a small margin of error ...
I wish it weren't so, but I think I relate more with the impetuous cousins from the Israeli side than not. The lesson today?

I must learn to be patient with those who are more different than I am; I need to wait more before I cast a judgment on the motives of others, and to add a pinch more of the ingredient of patience to everything I do.

I have found that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not simply delayed anger. It is allowing time for explanation and understanding, not simply holding my tongue. One way only builds up internal pressure, but "patience" adds no pressure. It reduces it. Without patience, there can be no understanding.

I have found that if I am just 20% more patient, I can have a 50% greater chance in avoiding making enemies. And if I am 30% more patient, I will increase the odds up to 70% in making fewer enemies.
Patience pays off huge dividends. I must learn to be more patient with others and not be so quick to put on a sword over an stone altar. I must learn what hills I will die on and which ones I will not. Which battles to fight and which ones to leave.

And the sooner the better!

Oops. I'd better be more patient in learning these things!
Dear Father, please help me to learn from these situations in the Bible and become wiser. I need patience, and I need it as soon as you can get around to it.

Devotions for March 25

Joshua 21,22
Psalms 47
1 Corinthians 10

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