August 16, 2013
The Importance of Patience
Most of us have heard the phrase “patience is a virtue.” And virtue is defined as moral excellence and righteousness; a good admirable quality. Patience is important for us to have and God feels so strongly about this that there are many verses about it in both Old Testament and in New Testament, about why it is important, and our reward for displaying it.
In the book of Proverbs, written by the wise King Solomon, patience is given as an example of how we should live our lives. Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever has patience has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” In Proverbs 16:32, we are told, “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Here, patience is linked to self-control and if you think about it, it takes self-control to wait patiently. In Proverbs 19:11, we are told that “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Solomon is telling us in this verse that a patient person overlooks other people’s wrongs. He also tells us that we display wisdom when we are patient.
In New Testament, patience is linked together with faith and endurance. In 2 Corinthians 6:6, the Apostle Paul tells us, “We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.” In Galatians 5:22, patience is listed as one of the good fruits the Holy Spirit produces in us along with love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In Hebrews 10:36 it says, “Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” If you continue reading to verse 38, we are told that “righteous ones live by faith.” We display our faith in God when we patiently wait and patiently endure and this is pleasing to God. The Apostle Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:5-7 how we can grow in faith so that we can share in our shared inheritance in Christ and escape the evil of this world. He says, “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”
It is amazing that with all of these examples, and more in the Bible, of how important having patience is for us to have that so many of us still display great impatience. While it is true that not everyone is a believer, that is no excuse not to be patient with others. When you are patient with other people, you are showing kindness and understanding and you will get a lot further than you will with impatience, selfishness, and a lack of understanding and an unwillingness to understand. There are rewards for patience whether or not you believe in God. With that being said, for believers who practice patience in their situations and with other people, their reward will be greater because they will be obeying God’s most important laws to love him and to love others. When you show love for others, part of that is showing patience since it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which lives inside of all believers who have been baptized (Acts 2:38). However, when you are impatient with other people, with your situation, or with God (or all of the above), then you will only make matters worse.
Getting impatient or frustrated will not make whatever you are waiting for appear or happen any faster, but it could lead to you committing a greater sin than the one you are already committing by showing God and the person(s) in question that you are impatient. Instead of venting your frustration and impatience, you may consider talking to God about it and release it to him. You may also do something constructive with it by writing out your feelings or exercising. Put the energy that comes with patience and frustration to good use and turn it into something positive so that it does not lead to anger and actions you might take that you would later on regret. Even if you do not do something you will regret later, know that God sees all and hears everything and whenever you say or do something that displays impatience or anger, it is a sin against God and will not go unpunished forever. He may not deal with you right away, but there will come a time when you will have to answer to God for all of your words and actions. This will happen whether you believe in God or not, because Jesus is coming back again and Judgment Day will occur and by then it will be too late to change your attitude and your actions.
It is not too late to learn patience. It will not happen overnight, but if you sincerely want to become a patient person then just ask God for help and he will be faithful to help you. Every time you let offenses or annoyances go and stay calm and at peace and show understanding and kindness, you will be much happier because you will not be letting anger or impatience poison you, and you will be pleasing God. Wouldn’t you like to live a happier life free from these negative emotions? If you answered yes to this question, know it is not too late for you and you can learn patience and understanding. Ask God for guidance and he will help you.