Patience. It's not something we really prize is it? We are not good at waiting - at least not unless we are distracted or entertained by some app or social media feed so that the time goes more quickly. Yet consistently the Bible calls us to be patient, to wait, to have our eyes fixed on something other than just what we can see. This is especially true in church. Growth takes time. Change takes time. We won't see either unless we are patient. Sometimes growth in grace in quick, especially for new believers, but often growth is more gradual, sometimes it appears glacially slow - especially in ourselves. Unless we learn patience, to fix our eyes on God's kingdom and his timing, to pray as we wait, then we will be tempted to be looking always for the next thing, the more exciting, the more dynamic church and so on. A tendency that is exacerbated in our instant fix culture. We need to pursue patience.
We also need to pursue persistence. To be tenacious in the way we love others and in our commitment to the gospel. To not be quick to give up but to stick at it. It's true in our relationships, when wronged we need to persist in bearing with, loving and forgiving the offender. When frustrated we need to persist in prayer and in loving others by grace. When tempted to despair or despondency we need to persist in faithfulness. I've been reading my way slowly through Jeremiah recently and one of the things that has struck me is his persistence in preaching the gospel to a people who have no interest in that gospel. He persists because he is convinced it is God's word to a people in need of it. I can't help but think that is a model for us in the UK in 2016. We need to patently persist in holding out the gospel to a community in desperate need of grace, even when they refuse to listen.