We are a society accustomed to having things quickly. With fast food restaurants, mobile internet, and even express delivery we are used to the idea that when we want something we can get it – quickly. Today we can skip the lines with self-checkout, call ahead for seating at a restaurant to avoid the wait, and even have groceries ready and waiting at that curb for pickup rather than going in and selecting items.
We have social media and search engines we can know what is going on immediately. We are connected with the latest news, the latest trends, and the latest gossip.
But is all this instant gratification good for us? Or are we becoming an on-demand society that is so out of touch with reality that we are not really learning or enjoying any of it? Is this ability to get what we want when we want it helpful or harmful?
Patience Is A Virtue, Right?
It’s a common phrase; patience is a virtue. Do we even know what this phrase means though? According to Merriam-Webster virtue has several definitions. The one I think fits best here is: a commendable quality or trait. Another fitting definition is: a particular moral excellence.
So according to the definition of the word virtue, patience is a commendable quality or a particular moral excellence.
Based on this, I think patience is more of a subjective idea rather than a tangible thing to be had.
And that makes sense. When you think about it, what one person calls patient, another may call impatient. I may be a patient person with my toddler while she is trying to tell me something, but less patience when I have to remind my older children to clean up after themselves, again.
I also know I have less patience if I am in a bad mood, rushed for time, tired, or just plain frustrated with a situation. Patience, and my level of, are subjective to many things, and therefore hard to gauge. I am willing to bet the same can be true for you.
Patience Is A Fruit
Of the Spirit, of course. Galatians 5:22 names several fruits of the Spirit, and if you are not paying attention you may just gloss over patience. It’s there though, in the word longsuffering. Longsuffering means patience, endurance, and slowness in avenging wrong.
So patience isn’t even something we can develop on our own. We need the Holy Spirit’s help if we are going to have any chance at having patience or being patient.
It’s no wonder the world is so impatient.
So I Have The Spirit, Now What?
Now, the real test begins. See, we don’t just get our dose of patience upon salvation. And it’s not mixed into the baptismal along with the water.
It’s cultivated in the believer and the believer needs to, well, be patient.
James the first chapter speaks of patience. A lot. In verse 3 it says, “Knowing this, that they trying of your faith worketh patience.” The trying of your faith, worketh patience. Your faith. Not mine, not your neighbors, not your friends, but your faith. It needs to be tried. You need to be tested.
Now I know, no one likes to be tested. I was tested this week… the jury is still out on how I did there… but I know because of this promise, that the trying of my faith will result in more patience. It won’t mean I have it all figured out, and it doesn’t mean that I am done. Patience is not a one-and-done kind of deal.
Rather it’s something that is worked out, cultivated, and accomplished over time.
Are You Letting Patience, or Preventing?
If we keep going in James we read verse 4; “But let patience have her perfect work,” Let patience? You mean I have a say in this?
Yeah, I kind of do, and you do too. You can prevent patience from working in you, or you can allow it to happen. You can allow patience to have her perfect work in you. Allowing you to become a more mature believer, or you can stand in the way and drown in your own impatience.
It’s not always easy, I know. Culture, society, and our own nature play a huge role in how patient we are, but like most things, if we seek we shall find.
We just have to look in the right place. We have to be willing to wait on God and His timing, not our own, and allow Him to grow our patience as He sees fit.
You need to be patient, while your patience is growing. You need to let God do His thing – as He sees fit. Yes, you can actively participate. Read your Bible, attend church, pray, study, and grow. Find a mentor to help you, whether you are new to the faith or have been in church for years. There is always more to learn. More to understand. And more patience to achieve.
Don’t Pray For Patience
I’ve heard this before, many times. People will say, “don’t pray for patience,” and I think they mean well. Because as James says, it’s the trying of your faith that breeds patience. Praying for patience then almost seems as if you are praying for trials. But I don’t think this is the case.
Praying for patience is asking God to increase your faith. To increase your ability to handle circumstances. To allow you to mature as a Christian. And to me, these are all good things to aspire to.
What we should not be praying for is immediate patience or patience that we don’t have to wait on. Patience is not something we just put on like our morning deodorant. Rather it’s something cultivated and grown. Sure, some of us are more naturally patient than others, but we can all have our moments where we could use some more.
And we need to remember that God will see us through the trials of our lives. He will be there when the rest of the world turns it back on us. And He will finish whatever He starts in your life (Phil 1:6). He won’t leave you like a half-finished project, started but abandoned. He will see you through to the end.
Do you recal a trial that lead to greater patience in your life? Share below to help inspire other!
Can you recall a trial that lead to greater patience in your life? Share below to help inspire others!