November 1, 2013

“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”  2 Peter 1:12

Personal habits can be annoying to others.  They are particularly troublesome when they annoy even the one with the habit.  I have just such a habit.  The annoyance of my bad habit grates even more when I see it in action.


I am impatient with long explanations.

I feel that if something can be explained briefly, then it should.  I have a limited capacity of daily words.  They should not be wasted.  Many times I have come home from a long day of meetings and my conversation tank has been completely depleted. I am simply out of words.

Words are very precious and should be chosen carefully.  Therefore, I get impatient when an abundance of words are expended when few would suffice.  My bad habit is associated with this impatience.  When I converse with someone engaged in a wasteful barrage of words, I try to help them.

I try to help them get to the point by…finishing their sentence.

Yeah, I am THAT guy.  OK, I know what you are thinking…I am working on it.  See, I just did it again.  I don’t like being THAT guy.  The problem arises from the fact that I am pretty good at it. The majority of the time I can identify a person’s conclusion while they are still on their circuitous explanation.  A little nudge can speed a conversation along by jumping to the point, which is exceptional for my personal environment but not great for others.

Finishing someone else’s sentence is just rude.  I know that.

I realize that restating a known explanation can often help to ensure that everyone has a similar understanding.
I realize that many people talk topics through to develop their own understanding.
I realize that some people speak their own version of Old Entish.

Treebeard in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the R...

It takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish and we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say. ~ Treebeard (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers)

While I may never be a very good ambassador to the Ents, I could use a lot more patience while being reminded. 

Impatience actually reveals an unteachable attitude.  When I am impatient with what someone is telling me, I am actually indicating that they don’t have anything to teach me; that I am not willing to be a pupil.

Actually, patience is a characteristic that every pupil can benefit from. Peter viewed a significant part of his ministry as a ministry of reminding Christians of what they had already been taught.  Paul took up a similar ministry when he reminded the recipients of his letters about what they had been taught.  Timothy was encouraged to remind those he was over.  The Israelites were instructed to create monuments of remembrance.

Being reminded has always been a staple of the Christian spiritual diet.
The Christian life consists of being taught the scriptures and then being continually reminded of those principles.

We can get ourselves into trouble with the jaded notion of  “I already know that.”  If I can complete the sentence of a teacher, that does not mean I need to look for a new teacher.  That sort of impatience will become very problematic for my soul.  Many impatient and proud intellectuals have found themselves in theological dead-ends by way of their search for something new, contemporary, and relevant.

A completely new revelation or interpretation of a well known passage should be a red-flag to a follower of Christ.  If it is true, then thousands of Spirit-filled followers will have had to have missed this new, hidden meaning or the teacher of the new interpretation might simply be wrong.  My trust is in the work of the Holy Spirit through generations.  Reinventing Christian doctrine is not a new phenomenon.  Advocates for the emergence of a new way of understanding scripture and the church have always been enticing the faithful.

The ministry of reminders is essential for Christians not to be swept away by untruth.
However, the ministry of reminders requires patience and humility of those receiving the words of life. 

This patience will be rewarded through deeper revelations from the same principles through the working of the Spirit.  I have read the Bible multiple times.  I am familiar with all the stories.  I know the teachings of Christ.  I know the commandments of the law.  Yet, I benefit from each reminder that I receive from sermons, Bible studies, and my Bible reading.

I am continually refreshed by what I already know to be true.
I am encouraged to persevere in my faith.
I learn new practical applications in my life.
I am taught more about the mysteries of God.
I am shown how glorious my God is.

I am reminded that God is good, abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression and so very slow to anger.

I will miss all that by allowing the impatience of  “I already know that” to keep me from being reminded.  Patience in being reminded of what I already know is good for my soul.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for my impatience and how that may have offended others.  Father, keep me from a spirit of impatience and pride that thinks I already know what you have for me to be taught.  Thank you for the teachers  you have given me.  Thank you for the leaders that bless me.  Lord, I do not want to undervalue what they can remind me of through the power of your Spirit.  Give me a teachable heart that is eager for reminders.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. Ahhh the lovely impatience, I know there are many of us who are impatient and need to work on it but this devotion made me smile–thinking of my Mom who has been with the Lord for almost 30 years now. One of my Mom’s pet phrases used to be Patience is a virtue and she would always grin and add to the end of it–seldom found in women and never found in men. lol Worst part? I have become my mother I think! lol I say the same thing!

  2. I can be the same way, finnishing peoples sentences…. I’m sorry to say that I get so anxiouse to respond and give my thought that I run over someone else’s. God and I are working on the “keep your mouth shut and listen” skill.

  3. Oh my. I’m reading this and thinking, “I do that too!” I honestly never thought of it as being unteachable. Ah, the sting of conviction! Thank you. Great post.

  4. Thank you for this great ‘reminder’. 🙂 I’ve had and continue to learn similar lessons in patience.

  5. What an appropriate post for many Christians who still remember or celebrate All Saints Day. I remember today so many people in my Christian walk that have taught me so much about love, prayer, sacrifice, suffering, and so very many other wonderful things. Some were old in the faith some new. Some of my particular doctrinal beliefs and some not. Yet, they all had much to share about the character of God. Saints I have been privileged to know. As I was reading your post I was thinking one thing they all had in common is they themselves were open and always felt others had something important to share with. Thank you Jesus for the saints I have known and I pray I may have many more, Amen and Amen

  6. I remember as a new believer, I couldn’t get enough of the Word. It was a feast every time, I opened it. Now, I go through times in my walk, when after reading a passage, I’m not as affected because I’ve read and studied it so many times before. Yet, it is this sort of apathetic state why I so desperately need to read and read and read again. It is good for us to pray with the psalmist, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”

  7. I love the part about finding new things, red flags, and a ministry of reminders. In fact, 2 Pet. 1 is one of my favorite chapters and, in my opinion, a crucial one to all Christian spiritual formation. Thanks for this.

  8. I smiled through this whole post! My husband is ‘blessed’ with the same- get to the point- mentality 🙂 I add to your thoughtful prayer– help the wives to understand that it is not a reflection of them or a lack of love when husbands don’t listen to phone messages or ask them to ‘cut to the chase.’ —
    When our kids were impatient like that with others, or frustrated when someone repeated something to them, I would always tell them..’Just listen because you love them.’ A lesson I had to be “reminded” of often myself! Thanks for the great post! (Sorry my comment is so long! 🙂 )

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