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Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Patience is a Virtue," They Told Me

Photo by: stockimages

I’m not the most patient person on earth. I’m learning, but it has been a life-long battle. It doesn’t come naturally. I want things in order—now! I want things to go according to plan. I wanted my kids to obey—quickly—hop to! I want people to act nice, please God, desire spiritual things—already.

Some people mosey through life, shuffling along, taking their good . . . old . . . time. Children say, “Yes, Mama,” and a half hour later they’re still playing with their toys, the task and asking forgotten. Christians think they’ll get to a holy life and serving God . . . later. They’re in no rush to begin, and certainly not up to working on it.

Mañana . . . tomorrow.

And, those of us who are doers and shakers are frustrated. Not patient. Not virtuous.

The Bible says that the fruit of the Holy Spirit (available to every Christian) is: love, joy, peace (tranquility), longsuffering (bearing patiently), gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness (strength under control), temperance: against such there is no law (from Galatians 5:22-23). The word patience isn’t on the list, but it’s very much implied.

We do find the word patience in this list. It’s about the virtues we’re supposed to add to saving faith: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8). With all diligence—working on it—we’re to add these things to our faith!

I recently read a letter from a dear Christian lady. She described a mother of six as “gifted with the virtue of patience.”

I have two grown children, and I sadly acknowledge I was not exactly “gifted with the virtue of patience” every day that I homeschooled, every day as we rushed to music lessons, every day as we piled into the car for church.

Patience is developed. It can be learned.

I’ve heard more than one pastor warn his flock, “Don’t ask the Lord for patience, because He’ll send trials, so that you’ll learn it.” Well, I wouldn’t blame the trials on the Lord, but the statement is somewhat biblical.
  • And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope (Romans 5:3-4).
  • Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:3-4).

You’ve probably heard the preacher joke about the person who prayed for patience: “Lord, I want patience, and I want it now!”

Patience doesn’t come now or yesterday or zapped instantly from On High.

We learn through our trials to depend on God. When we cast our cares on Him,* He helps us get through them. And so, we grow more and more patient as we learn to go to the Lord with each concern, pressure, and trial. *1 Peter 5:7

Your trial and my trial may be very different.

I might get upset because someone drops in, and I just ran out of coffee.

You might have lost a loved one.

Or maybe, you’re frustrated with a person who has “the slows” and doesn’t run and get with it.

As Christians, we are to depend on the Lord, go to Him, learn to overlook the insignificant things—like no coffee and people who move in relax mode. Whatever our care, small or large, we develop patience by going to the Lord in prayer. We’re also to go to the Bible for strength and comfort.
  • For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4).
  • Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:11).
  • But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (1 Timothy 6:11).
  • But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me (2 Timothy 3:10-11).
  • That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrew 6:12).
  • Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). 

See how God gives patience? It’s through His Word, His power, His strength, and His example.

Patience is a necessary Christian virtue.

Let’s start developing our dependence on God.

In your patience possess ye your souls (Luke 21:19).


Please share your thoughts.