Week 5 | Patience
July 24 – July 30
Monday, July 24 | The Patience of the Lord
Read 2 Peter 3:3–15
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
In our modern Western context, patience is most typically associated with waiting in line or dealing with children. Ask 10 people about patience and see which image they mention first! We consider patience a virtue exercised when we are able to endure annoyance or delay without complaint. But in the New Testament, the Greek word most often translated “patience”—makrothymōs—carries more weight and length. It means long-suffering or long-spirited—endurance not just in the grocery line, but over a long period of time as a way of bearing a burden of some kind. And there is no better example of this long-suffering than God Himself. As Peter explains in this beautiful passage of Scripture, God’s heart is burdened for His creation. He longs for everyone to turn to Him in repentance so He can pour out His grace and forgiveness. Though we may feel too much time has passed since Jesus walked the earth and want Him to return, ushering in the kingdom of God in all its fullness, He waits, exercising patience—long-suffering, a long-spiritedness—so that all will come to know Him.
- Who comes to mind for you when you think about a patient person? Identity three to five qualities about that person you have noticed. In other words, what is it about them that made them come to mind in the context of patience?
- What invitation related to patience do you sense God is extending to you? Take a few minutes in silence to listen to God. (Is He inviting you to exercise more patience in a particular arena of your life? Or perhaps with a particular person or set of circumstances? Is He seeking to lovingly point out the ways in which you haven’t exercised patience recently? Something else?)
God, thank You for Your long-suffering and long-spiritedness toward me. You have been so patient with me as I seek to know You more and follow in Your ways. Thank You for pursuing me with Your grace and love and for waiting as I ran from You and put other things before You. There are people in my life who need Your patience. Continue to wait, Lord, in Your great mercy, so they can come to know Your love, Your life, and Your forgiveness. Amen.
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