“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, NIV).” “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope. Patience and encouragement come from God” (Romans 15:4-5, NCV).
Patience is a spiritual force and consequently is of a spiritual origin. We will never be able to muster up enough patience in the natural to deal with life’s challenges and opportunities. Patience, like the other fruit of the Spirit is developed through the word of God and through living contact with God through prayer. God is the both the source and example of patience.
Patience literally means “long-tempered.” The patient person does not become easily angered. When the patient person does become angry, it is always a controlled anger. Patience is not merely a passivity and resignation to the inevitable, but a source of power to maintain a word based confidence and cheerful endurance while waiting for a breakthrough or a turnaround. Since patience is a spiritual force and not just something we use to “grin and bear it” when times are hard, it accomplishes much in the life of the believer.
First, we can obtain Christian maturity and character through patience. James 1:3-4 teaches that patience produces perfection or maturity in the life of the believer. As we allow patience to under gird our faith, we begin to experience growth in the vital area of character formation.
Second, we can obtain a life of peace with other people through patience. The Bible teaches that we are to “be humble, gentle and patient…” (Ephesians 4:1-2). The believer is commanded in Scripture to stay out of strife with other people (2 Timothy 2:24). Believers that stay in strife also stay in defeat. It is impossible for our faith to produce results when we are violating the rule of love. The force of patience gives us the strength to stay in love even under direct provocation.
Third, we can obtain divine assistance when we are in trouble. The Psalmist said, “I waited patiently” and “the Lord heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1-3). Divine assistance such as deliverance, stability, and joy are made available to us when we maintain the fruit of patience in our lives.
Fourth, we can obtain the promises of God through patience. Hebrews 6:12 reminds us it is through faith and patience we inherit what has been promised. Many apparent “faith failures” are in actuality “patience failures.” Faith was never designed as a stand-alone spiritual force. Without the support of patience, many times people just simply give up on the promise ever coming to pass. They believe, but they have no patience to stabilize their faith for the long haul. We have the assurance that if we stand we will “receive all that he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
Finally, with patience we can obtain our life dreams. The prophet Habakkuk declares, “But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed” (2:3, NLT). Godly dreams require godly pathways-and one of those pathways is patience. Patience will keep us steady, firm, and confident while we are waiting and working for our dreams to come true.