Today I’d like to talk with you about patience. What is patience? How do we get patience? Where does patience come from? Why do we need patience? I will try to answer these questions from the Bible. (and Websters)
What is patience?
Patience is to “be patient”. Websters defines patience as being able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people.
So how is your patience? Are you easily annoyed? Do you become impatient when things aren’t going the way you think they should? How do you feel, think or act, when the car in front of you fails to go, when the light is green? What happens when you are completely ready to go to an appointment, and your spouse is still in the shower? How do you feel when someone less qualified than you secures the position you have been working toward? Is your patience tested when the person in front of you, in the 20 items or less aisle, clearly has more than twenty items? Our patience can be tested in many ways. It seems almost impossible to keep from becoming impatient; but we can control our reactions to that impatience.
How do we get patience?
James 1:3 says that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:4 Let patience have it’s perfect work that you may be perfect and complete and lacking nothing. What a wonderful reason to cultivate patience in our life.
Where does patience come from?
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience.
Tribulation is described by Webster as an experience that is hard to bear, or distress or suffering resulting from cruel and unjust treatment or misfortune. Some synonyms are: affliction, agony, anguish, excruciation, hurt, misery, pain, torment, torture, travail, distress, woe. This is why we are sometimes told to be careful of praying for patience. Patience comes from going through and enduring hard experiences. Each time we lose our patience or become impatient, it is a new opportunity to become more patient in the future.
Why do we need patience?
1. To be more like God.
Romans 15:4-6 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (5) Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus. (6) That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is called the “God of patience and consolation”. If we desire to be more like God, then we must cultivate the characteristics of God in our own lives. He also wants us to exhibit that “likemindedness” toward one another. In verse 6 He gives us a reason why we should be patient and consoling: So we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God. He wants us to be in accord with each other so that we will worship Him with one mind and one voice. We are to be united in Christ. The more Christians exhibit the characteristics of God, the more united the body of Christ, or the church, can become. If you desire to be more like God; study, learn and copy his characteristics.
2. To have patience toward others, in love.
Romans 12:10 & 12 (10) Be kindly affectioned toward one another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another. (12) rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.
We are to be kind to others with brotherly love. This verse asks us to put other’s needs above our own. God wants us to rejoice in hope; be patient in tribulation; and continue in prayer. If we have trouble maintaining our patience; we need to pray for the Lord to be patient through us. If we are not treating people with patience and love; we need to be praying that God will enable us to be more kind and loving; and less impatient.
3. To have rest.
Psalms 37:7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself because of one who prospers in his way; because of the man who bringeth evil devices to pass.
We have rest in the Lord if we wait patiently for Him. God’s timing is not always like ours. We need to be patient until he answers our petition. He asks us to be patient during the trying times in life. (tribulations) He desires that we even be patient with those who hurt us or do evil against us. He doesn’t want us to worry or be upset over what someone else is doing or not doing. Our job is to keep our eyes on Him. His job is to take care of all the evildoers. Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. We must trust that “God will work all things together to the good; because we love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
4. To bring forth fruit.
Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
If we desire to be a seed that falls on the good ground, first, we must have and honest and good heart; second, we must not only hear the word, but keep the word; and third, we must bring forth fruit with patience. We need to be patient with others; but also with ourselves. Satan loves to attack believers with discouragement. If we are not patient with ourselves, we can easily fall into the trap of discouragement. God says bring forth fruit with patience.
5. To make us complete.
James 1:4 Let patience have it’s perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete and lacking nothing.
What a wonderful promise. Wouldn’t you love to be made perfect, be complete and lack nothing. All that can become reality if we trust completely in God. It may not come when we think it should. And you say “How can we be perfect”? You can be perfect in Christ; because you are covered by His blood. When He died on the cross, He took all our sins (and mistakes), past, present and future, upon His sinless self to be the propitiation for our sins. Our sins (and mistakes) were crucified with Christ; leaving us washed white as snow. We are not perfect in ourselves; but we are “perfect” in Christ. If our trust is completely in God; then we are complete in Him, and we lack nothing. The problem comes in because we are sometimes of “little faith”. We say we trust God; but we are trying to solve the problem ourselves. When we make mistakes we feel condemned; but Christ crucified those mistakes with Him on the cross. When we feel condemned; there is an action we must take: repentance. But there is no need to be living in condemnation. He is faithful and just to forgive.
6. To receive the promise.
Hebrews 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
We will, through faith and patience, inherit the promises. We need patience to do the will of God and to inherit the promise of God; which is eternal life. He tells us not to be slothful (or lazy). God asks us to actively follow those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. If we read and study the Bible we will learn what the will of God is. Then we need to pray that God will do those things through us. He is the “author and finisher of our faith” Hebrews 12:2 But we must believe that He is, and that He is able to do what He promises.
7. To possess our souls.
Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
Do you want to possess your own soul? If we don’t possess our own souls…who will? We must have the patience to read and study the Bible. We need patience to exercise self control. Patience is the cornerstone to dealing with others in love. We need to be forgiving toward those who have hurt us or wronged us in some fashion. We need to have patience when things don’t happen when we think they should. Sometimes we want immediate satisfaction over long term reward. With our patience we will possess our own souls. If we don’t possess our own souls, we are open to being mislead, possessed by the wrong desires and temped to move in non-Christian directions. Be patient. Possess your own soul!
8. To the coming of the Lord.
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the lord. Behold the husbandman (farmer) waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain.
Here the Lord asks us to be patient for His coming. He uses the analogy of the farmer and his crops. When we plant a seed, it won’t immediately produce a plant; and when we have a plant; it won’t immediately produce fruit. The farmer must be patient until the seed germinates under the ground and begins to grow. The sunlight and rain also have a place in this process. When the gospel seed is planted in a heart; it begins to grow or germinate. Usually we can’t see that growth, just as the farmer can’t watch his seeds while they are under the ground. The seed needs water at this point; not necessarily light. When a person comes to Christ, they just come to know a little of the light that God can shine into their lives. As they grow and learn, they will need more of the light of Christ and a continuous flow of the Holy Spirit’s teaching. If that seed is not given the right things to develop and grow; it will wither and die. A seed that goes unwatered in the ground; will not produce a plant; let alone fruit. A seed planted in the heart of someone who has no desire to learn and grow in the Lord, will also not produce fruit.
Patience is the companion of wisdom – St Augustine
I will pray for patience, peace and rest for all my readers. Go forth and cultivate a patient, loving and kind heart. The next time you feel yourself start to be impatient; stop, take a deep breath and pray for patience in the difficult situation; no matter what it may be. May God bless and keep you safe in His care.
At your service,