– George MacDonald
Patience is defined as having the quality of being able to bear many things–even if being provoked and being placed under the most difficult of circumstances–and doing so without losing one’s temper, complaining, or becoming agitated or irritated. That’s obviously something I need to work on. Patience is developed over a lifetime, and just when you think you are doing fine, something happens that proves you don’t have quite enough of it, but that’s a principal part of our faith. If we have faith in God, Who holds the future and the present in His sovereign hand, we can have peace of mind knowing that nothing happens outside of the sovereign will of God.
Faith and Patience
Paul wrote in Romans 8:25 that “if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience,” and I suppose you could call hope another word for faith because we hope for Jesus’ return, Whom we’ve never seen; we believe in a God we’ve not ever put our eyes on; and we endure present circumstances and an uncertain future, all because we have hope and faith, and that is a great deal of our patience.
Patience Is a Fruit of the Spirit
It’s so easy to understand why those who don’t have God’s Spirit cannot be as patient as most of the believers are. There’s a good explanation for this. Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God, and you cannot bear a fruit of the Spirit if your root is not in the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 is where Paul tells us what these fruits of the Spirit are, writing that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The Example of Patience
James wrote about “an example of suffering and patience [found in] the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10), and the author of Hebrews “desire[s] each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:11-12). Can you see the connection again between hope (or faith) and patience and that the example of suffering is used with this? It is “those who through faith and patience [who] inherit the promises,” and that is us if we have believed in Christ.
I hope it is now clear that the principal part of faith is patience. If we have placed our faith in Christ, then we should be more patient knowing that we will inherit the promises of God someday, and all the promises of God find their yes and amen in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20).