Let Patience Have It’s Perfect Work
Let Patience Have It’s Perfect Work
Challenges arise for every leader. Thorny circumstances can emerge in every leadership situation. The need for tolerance is ever present.
To lead like Jesus, we need patience. It’s one of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which the Apostle Paul refers to as longsuffering (possibly a more realistic term).
If living with – and through - difficulties is a natural part of leadership, then why don’t we learn to manage them better? If possessing patience is an essential quality for being a follower of Jesus, then why don’t we plan on procuring it?
Where does one find patience? When do we learn it? How do we acquire it?
In the Bible, James tells us that the testing of our faith produces patience.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” – James 1:2-3
Think about it. As we lead like Jesus, our faith is constantly being tested.
- Will God intervene in our current circumstance?
- Will we have the right answer when we need it?
- Can we remain steadfast in following Jesus, even if there are negative consequences?
During the period our faith is tested, we often don’t know how things will end. It requires patience to learn the outcome. And it is through this time of growing in patience that we become more like Jesus, and closer to perfection.
As James continues:
“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:4
Interestingly, James highlights that there’s also a link between patience and wisdom.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5
Stop for a moment and think of a leader you would consider to be very wise. They’re likely older, meaning they have years of experience. They likely also appear to possess an immense amount of patience, and rarely seem to be in a hurry. This is not because they no longer have any problems. Quite the contrary. Their patience comes with the wisdom to know when they should wait and when they should act; when they should stand up and speak, and when they should remain quiet and listen.
In addition, someone who is filled with wisdom and leads like Jesus also knows how to leverage the power of prayer. They know that God is the source of all wisdom, and the patience that leads to perfection.
Permit us to share a personal story.
Someone we consider to very wise is Robert’s father, Charles, who at the time of this post will soon turn 87. Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of benefiting from his wisdom (when we were proactive enough to seek it out). Some might consider that Charles is wise because of his years of experience as a senior leader at a major university. Some might look back and assume he acquired a lot of his wisdom from his military experience, commanding a regiment of tanks in the Korean War. Some might also consider he is wise because of his education, with a master’s degree in military history.
While education and experience can contribute much to one’s personal wisdom, Charles will tell you that real meaningful wisdom comes from God. Even though Charles grew up in a Christian home and was baptized when he was young, it wasn’t until he was in his early 50’s that he came to personally know the Lord and begin his spiritual journey.
When he was in his mid-70s, Charles suffered a stroke in his right eye, causing partial blindness. From there his body began to betray him so that by the time he was in his early 80s, he needed a walker to get around. Looking at him, hunched over and sitting in a chair, you might think he has nothing left to contribute.
But his mind, heart, spirit, and soul remain very much alive.
Over the past dozen or so years, a number of ministers from local churches and other Godly men from around his city come to meet with Charles every Thursday morning. Yes, they come to fellowship and pray together. But they also come to tap into the Godly wisdom found in Charles – someone who has never been a minister nor sought to be one.
While both of Robert’s parents – and many others - prayed diligently for many years that Charles’ health would improve, God clearly decided otherwise. Has this stopped Charles from continuing to grow in Godly wisdom? Absolutely not! He would tell you that he now knows the Bible better than ever, has a closer relationship with the Lord than ever before, and has had more opportunities to pour into the lives of others than all his years of employment. Others who have met him will tell you that in spite of his health challenges, God has allowed patience to produce it’s perfect work in Charles.
Now, even if you don’t have a father like Charles, ALL of us have a wise and loving Heavenly Father. We can tap into His patience and wisdom at anytime, anywhere, and in any situation. And remember, allowing patience to have its perfect work in us is all part of learning to lead like Jesus.