It can be easy to lose patience.
Especially with those who want something similar to what we have, but aren't going after it with much zest.
Have a favorite sports team? What do you do when you meet someone else who says they are passionate about that same team, yet it's evident they barely follow them?
"You didn't watch the game? You can't name most of the players?"
Chances are you scoff at them (maybe secretly) that they aren't a "real fan."
Maybe you don't like sports. Maybe it's how much you know about your favorite band. Or Celebrity. Or TV show. Or fast food menu selections. Or Starbucks.
The truth is...we love the comparison game. We wonder why people aren't as passionate about the things we are passionate about.
When it comes to our faith, as Christians, we can fall into this same trap. Sometimes with new believers...and sometimes with long-time Christians who seemingly aren't making any strides in becoming more like Christ. We can look around and say "Why do they still struggle with _______?" or "Why are they so in love with the party scene?" or "Why isn't that person in church every week?" or "Why is their family so dysfunctional?" or "Why don't they serve/share/give/love/memorize scripture/lead/disciple more..."
Some of you may be picturing a teenager. Some of you may be picturing the old guy in church who complains about everything, but does nothing.
Odds are, if you're a Christian, you have had that moment. You have gotten frustrated with someone else's inability to follow Christ more passionately through their life and actions. You know that Christianity is first about faith in Christ and accepting that gift of grace. But, you also know the book of James says that faith without deeds is dead.
So, the question is "how patient can you be with someone who claims to want to follow Christ but isn't making any visible growth?" Let's be honest...there's plenty of them out there.
How patiently do you wait for their process of becoming more like Christ?
How urgent are you to give them direction and accountability?
Cam you be patient and urgent at the same time?
I think the problem is often this. Christians who want to help other Christians often choose patience or urgency. We should choose both. If we choose patience, then we are inclined to just watch and hope for the best. We become spectators in their spiritual growth instead of participants. If we choose urgency, then we focus so much on the end result instead of helping them get there.
We must practice "Patiently Urgent Christianity." I know...I just made that up. Here's my point. We must focus more on the direction they are headed then on where they currently are. We must be patient enough to be with them through the process; and urgent enough to be actively involved in helping them take their next steps in faith.
It is a tightrope to walk. A delicate balance. Be Patient AND Urgent.
Hebrews 10:24-25 "And let us consider how we may spur (stir up, provoke) one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
I was already writing this post and then found this interesting article from "The Resurgence Ministry" that goes even deeper, if you dare. It even uses fun words like Sanctification!
This post is a part of my 2013 Lent back to blogging decision. To see my other posts click here