“Impatience is, as it were, the original sin in the eyes of the Lord. For, to put it in a nutshell, every sin is to be traced back to impatience. I find the origin of impatience in the Devil himself.” Tertullian (160-220 AD) In a brilliant essay entitled “Of Patience,” Tertullian wrestles deeply with a theme we rarely talk about today – i.e. God’s nature to be patient. I have been pondering this essay for the past few weeks, reflecting on the intersection of leadership and patience, especially in my own life. The following are a few challenging quotes from Tertullian’s exegesis of Scripture worthy of prayer and reflection for every one of us in leadership:
- God allows Himself to become incarnate: in His mother’s womb He awaits (the time of birth) and after His birth suffers Himself to grow into manhood, and, when an adult, shows no eagerness to become known, but bears reproaches and is baptized by His own servant and by His words alone repels the attacks of the Tempter.
- More than this, He even kept in His company the one who would betray Him and did not firmly denounce him.
- When the Spirit of God descends, patience is His inseparable companion. If we fail to welcome it along with the Spirit, will the latter remain within us at all times? As a matter of fact, I rather think the Spirit would not remain at all.
- Let us, then, love the patience that is of God, the patience of Christ; let us return to Him that which He expended for us.
In light of God’s nature to be patient, what might be God’s invitation to you today?