How many of us have ever made the statement “don’t pray for patience as that could mean a lot of waiting and potential trials” or said something similar. I used to think that but over recent years I have come to understand how patience is one of those essential traits in the bible that we are expected to master. In a society these days which is about instant gratification and answers (in a number of areas) patience is something that is even more important to us.
There are a number of applications of patience in the bible for our own learning.
Luke 21:19 “By your patience possess your souls.”
We go through a sanctification process of restoring our souls back to our spirit to get the balance right between body, soul and spirit. This sanctification process can take years and is ongoing. This verse suggests that patience is part of this process. Sometimes the restoration process requires great change in us and without patience we would never get through that change and our soul restored to where it should be.
Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
This is one of my favourite memory verses. Patience doesn’t mean not doing anything and in fact in this verse we are told not to be sluggish but to imitate through faith and patience. In fact, a real test of faith is having the patience through the process especially where it takes a number of times to complete and things don’t happen as you expect. How many promises or prophecies are there in the word that took years or weren’t even seen in an individual’s lifetime. Abraham as an example! That doesn’t mean the individual did nothing. Patience does not necessary mean inaction and that is one key to understand. The wrong sort of action doesn’t mean patience either.
James 1:2-3 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Here we go again where the relationship between faith and patience is highlighted. Is your faith as strong after ten years of patience? This is true patience and faith. There is a peace in patience knowing that God will deliver and you can stand in that faith. God doesn’t lie, it is not his nature and I believe He gets a real joy out seeing us standing in patience and faith knowing He is God. While we are standing we learn. We learn to be patient, to find that peace in Him. Through our trails we can learn to have a patience and God will allow these trials at times so we pick up this attribute.
I think back to times when I was young and I would wait for the mailman to bring the mail as I was waiting on something (like exam results). Now I can get impatient sometimes when I am waiting for a text or email which are relatively instantaneous. The speed isn’t important as that is relative to the time we live in. What is important is having that attribute of patience during the wait and holding on in faith. I knew the mailman would turn up just as I know God will be there.
James 5:7-8 7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Some of the best fruit comes from waiting and nurturing and this requires patience. Whether it is a relationship, a career opportunity or a word of prophecy sometimes time just brings us to a better outcome. Do we believe that God knows best for us? If so, we can be patient and at peace in the wait.
2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,
Our patience is a testimony to others which should not be underestimated. How many others look at you and your walk? If we are impatient and angry in times of trails or pressure what example are we giving to those around us.
In my office environment this week I got very upset at some actions and people and for a while I could really feel that affect me. One of my other peers could see this in me as well and he (as a non-Christian) was surprised to see that and this example of my reaction really made me understand that we are being watched in all circumstances by those around us. Patience is one of those attributes that help us to handle situations well and to have others imitate and want what we have.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
The patience of Christ. We are to imitate Jesus and here we are told that He had patience. To walk in His footsteps and in His power, in bigger signs and wonders would suggest that we need to understand this idea of patience. Jesus waiting until He was thirty before commencing His ministry. I am sure there was some patience required in that wait. Patience is part of the requirement to reach the appointed time. If we don’t master patience are we given all that we are here to do. He won’t give us more than we can carry as He loves us too much for that. There is some responsibility on our part to understand and practise patience so that we can handle more.
He speaks out so we can walk in faith and in patience. The two work together.
Make me a man of faith! Therefore I will need patience.
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed–God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
He names me things years ahead that don’t necessary reflect who I am at that time. He speaks them out as He expects me to walk into those things through faith and with what I understand now patience.
I walk into prophecy over me.
He speaks out things like they exist and we are to walk in that faith. This is what He expects.
He is outside time and He sees all so to Him these things He speaks over us exist as He sees them in our future.
Romans 4:20-21 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Abraham believed God would perform. His part was to walk in faith. His walk was to have patience and a peace in that.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
He won’t give up on us so don’t give up on your faith and promises. Remember what was said ten years and twenty years ago over you and hold onto these things as He hasn’t changed. Be patient knowing He is God.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Yes, what a statement to hold onto.
A word I get as I close.
“I speak to my children now as time moves into its appointed place and I deliver much of what has been promised over recent years. Your patience will be rewarded and you will see many blessings in the times ahead. Teach your children patience and understanding so that they can walk strong in the times ahead, I will bless them and prosper them as they look to me and understand everything is part of my plan and I will deliver what is promised. This is the time of great rewards and blessings and then there will be another time. Don’t forget the promises and don’t forget the wait when required. I will be there in both.”