We often think of patience as being able to wait for something – delaying gratification. However, the word means more than that. Patience is the bearing of annoyance, pain, or misfortune without complaint or irritation; quiet and steady perseverance.
Patience is a key component to spiritual growth, as stated in James 1:2-4:
“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
This passage highlights the fact that we can only grow in patience if our faith is tested. The apostle Paul also writes that “suffering produces perseverance” (Rom 5:3). So, we must hold onto the promises of the unseen God, and exercise our faith like a muscle during trying times, so that our ability to get through tough situations increases.
There are many obvious reasons why we would want to grow in our patience. Patience builds character (Rom 5:4), it is an expression of love (1 Cor 13:4), it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (gal 5:22-23), and God commands us to be patient (Eph 4:2; 1 Thes 5:14). These motivations for being patient can help us in our outlook on day-to-day events, but patience is also important as we look at our relationship with God in the long-run. The book of Hebrews urges us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Life as a Christian is a life-long race, and we are to persevere so as to claim our prize when Jesus Christ returns.
- A great deal of our impatience is expressed through things we say that we wish we hadn’t. Proverbs 21:23 says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” The next time you feel the urge to speak out of impatience, hold your tongue, pray and see what the Lord does in the circumstance.
- It can also be helpful to think about how patient the Lord is with His creation. Memorize Romans 9:22-23, which reads:
“22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—”
The book of Job