Answers

By   •   September 30, 2008

Q:

What's the hardest part of our personality to change? I know we're supposed to become kind and good when we follow Jesus, but that covers a lot of territory. Aren't some things about us harder to change than others? For example, I just have a very hard time being patient.


A:

Yes, some things about us usually are harder to change than others — but that shouldn’t keep us from trying (with God’s help). The Bible says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

I have a friend who says (with a twinkle in his eye) that his favorite prayer is this: “Lord, give me patience — and give it to me right now!” Patience, he admits, has been the hardest virtue for him to acquire, and I suspect that’s true for many of us. Why is this? For one thing, our patience is tested every day — even every hour (unlike some of the other virtues). It’s also the key to other virtues God wants us to have. For example, you’ll never be truly kind or gentle or compassionate if you lack patience.

When impatience threatens to overwhelm you, ask God to take it away and replace it with His patience. Remember: His patience with you has been beyond measure. In addition, learn to ask yourself what your impatience is actually accomplishing. The answer is usually “nothing.”

Also ask God to help you care about the needs of others more than your own. That person who is causing you to lose patience may be going through struggles you can barely imagine. Don’t lose patience with them; instead, pray for them.

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