Patience is going to play a big role in your battle with sin and utimately your attainment of salvation. On the one hand it will be the mercy of God in your life and on the other it will be a cunning tool of the evil one. Lets examine...
The Patience of God...
A wise confessor or spiritual director upon hearing of a stubborn sin with which you feel overwhelmed will usually say something to the effect of, "Dont expect to conquer this sin today. This will be a long battle. Don't get down on yourself if you fall again." You see the spiritual director understands an important aspect of the mercy of God and that aspect is patience. When I think of certain sins and how long I have had a deliberate struggle with them I'm amazed at how long God has been there patiently waiting for the day when I will let go of them in order to embrace Him more fully. This principle is easily seen in God's relationship to the chosen people. He was patient waiting for them to be the people they were called to be. They fell time and time again but God continually showed His presence among them. It is important to note that God often uses the time it takes to overcome sin as a way to show us we cannot do it by our own merits. This is a lesson every soul will learn on the road to sanctity. Lord, have patience with us your servants!
The patience of the Evil one...
We know the devils plan for our life. He wants us to die in mortal sin and he wants that to happen as soon as possible. Well fortunately for us God does not allow the devil to have his way completely. The devil knows this so he takes on the longterm strategy.
Often the devil will tempt us with a smaller sin and lure us into a relationship with that sin. He is very patient. He will wait for years and years and let that sin grow and fester and slowly take more of our heart. Finally it will take us over and lead to other sins. All the while we think its ok. After all its just one of the "little" sins. James says, "but each man is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is fulll grown brings forth death..."
The devil doesnt necessarily need to get you with sex, drugs, murder etc. He is patient and cunning enough to let you grow envy, greed, anger etc. in your heart. The devil is patient. He will wait as long as he needs to get you.
Pray for the Lord to be patient and heal us in His time. Recognnize the cunning patience of the devil. Do not let sin grow within our hearts.
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.