We can all universally agree that patience is a virtue, and everyone could probably benefit from exercising it more often. I confess, sometimes a sleepless night, increased stress, or not feeling well brings out the impatient side of me. I know I could use more patience; how about you? Let’s investigate what the Bible says about patience.
Probably not this:
Biblical Definition of Patience
My Zondervan’s Bible Dictionary describes patience as “an attitude of the heart.” The Bible uses the Greek word for “long-suffering” to describe having or showing continuing patience during troubles or trials.
Patience as a Virtue
Peter talks about God showing patience with the wicked people of Noah’s time while the ark was being built. (1 Peter 3:20)
Romans 2:4 speaks of “the riches of his patience” regarding us. We sin daily (and He knows this will continue our entire life) but He doesn’t lose His temper or get irritated.
Patience is also a Fruit of the Spirit- qualities that are to be shown by all believers. We need to cultivate a spirit of patience so that we are reflecting God’s character to others.
Isn’t it nice to know that even when situations or others irritate us, we can experience love, joy, and peace when we exercise patience? 😊
Examples of Patience in the Bible
The Bible is full of verses to help us learn to be patient, curb our frustration, and live in peace.
•Paul tells us he put Jesus’ patience to the test when He tapped Paul to be His disciple:
“I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16.
No one should ever think they are beyond His immense patience and love!
•“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2.
He calls us to love and treat others as we would want to be treated.
•“Whoever has patience has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29.
Responding with patience in difficult situations is wise. Quickly jumping to conclusions or anger leads to mistakes and regrets.
•”Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14.
Yes, everyone! Even the difficult ones we encounter. By showing patience, we are showing them Jesus.
Patient People in the Bible
The Bible gives us many examples of patient people: Moses, Noah, Joseph, Hannah, Jacob, Paul… the list is long. Here are 3 more:
The Patience of Job
We say someone has “the patience of Job” when they show great patience in the face of unbelievable hardships and trials. Job lost his children, his wealth, his health, the support of his wife and friends, but he endured it all with patience. On the day Job lost his children and wealth, Job responded,
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21.
Wow. Now that is something to aspire to. My minor annoyances now seem very petty.
May we all have the faith and patience of Job to help us accept all trials that come our way!
What trials are you experiencing today that could use more patience on your part?
Abraham Waited Patiently
God promised Abraham a son and offspring as numerous as the stars. The problem was that Abraham and his wife were far past childbearing age. Abraham waited 25 years until he reached the age of 100 to see God’s promise of a child come true.
“And so, after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:15.
God is Patient
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 ESV.
Peter was referring to Jesus’ return and encouraging these new Christians by trying to explain God’s timetable. God’s love is so great, He is eager for everyone to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus.
It makes me think of God’s patience with people throughout history. We can point fingers at the Israelites, but I am most thankful that God shows infinite patience with me. Time and time again, He patiently forgives.
I want to cultivate His kind of patience in my own life. ♥
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How To Develop Patience Biblically
It might be difficult to develop patience in our lives, but it is not impossible!
•Patience is a Fruit of the Spirit, which lives within us. He steps in by convicting us the moment impatience rises. Listen carefully for His still, small voice and choose patience.
•Pray daily for patience! God hears these prayers and desires patience for us. He will give us the strength and support we need.
The Testing of Your Faith Produces Patience
•Use the trials in your life to develop patience. No one likes trials or sufferings, but working through them and having our faith tested produces patience.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12.
Joyful, patient, faithful- it’s a package deal for us. We can’t leave out any of these three things in our daily Christian walk.
We are told that “in this world we will have trouble.” John 16:33. Enduring trials and troubles with patience is a necessity for Christians. It’s not a pessimistic resignation, “woe is me” patience, but a confidence that God will resolve our troubles in his timing and according to His plan.
Do you want God’s solution to your problem, or would you prefer to work it out on your own?
God gives us opportunities to develop patience by allowing trials to enter our lives. That doesn’t exactly make me want to shout “Halleluiah!”, but it should! It reminds me of the adage “no pain, no gain.” Don’t we endure the pain of exercise or endless studying to gain physical and mental strength? Worthwhile endeavors don’t come easy.
How can our faith grow if it is never tested?
James reminds us, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” 1:2-3.
We should be thankful that opportunities to grow and cultivate patience come into our lives. It’s difficult, I know. But Jesus never promised us an easy life. What He did promise was to walk side-by-side with us through each trial and strengthen us in the journey.
Impatience in the Bible
I feel like we should talk about the “pitfalls” of impatience so that we can learn some avoidance techniques.
One story about impatience from the Bible that comes to mind is when Moses went up Mount Sinai to spend 40 days with God. The people grew impatient in their waiting and asked Aaron to make them an idol to worship instead!
Spiritual Root of Impatience
When we are impatience with ourselves or others, we lose control. Impatience leaves us dissatisfied and upset. We complain and feel frustrated. When we are impatient, we hurry through life, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
Instead of showing the fruit of the spirit, we are producing the opposite: rotten fruit.
“What causes quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1.
Behind our impatience is the desire for control, to be right, to do as we please. Our prideful nature comes into play, which leads to anger or bitterness. It surely doesn’t lead to a sense of gratitude and counting our blessings.
Instead, we should be offering the gift of patience. Can you overlook shortcomings, work out conflicts, think before you speak sharply, or just “let it go”?
Benefits of Patience
Showing patience brings rewards.
•Patience through trials brings us a stronger faith. When we patiently work through our trials with God’s leading, we see Him in action! He wants us to become more Christ-like. Let Him show you the way.
•Practicing patience gives us a calmer, more optimistic outlook, and peace of mind. He did not create us to live in a state of stress.
•God blessed each person in the Bible who showed patience in their trials and periods of waiting. He always keeps his promises. Practicing patience brings blessings.
The Power of Patience in the Bible
•Patience brings hope into our lives. “The Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Romans 15:4 NLT.
•Patience brings us strength. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.
Practicing patience isn’t easy, but we have the Holy Spirit within us. It’s not an impossible task, just one that needs nurturing.
Encouragement for the Week:
The very first thing Paul tells us about love is that it is patient… (1 Corinthians 13:4) How can you show God’s patient love in your life this week?
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