In this day and age, a hurried life is thought to be the right kind of life. Being in a rush, being busy, running here and fro, tell people that they are doing something with their lives because there is always something to do. Thus, when one is asked to stay put and wait, it can be the most difficult to do. People want to do and have everything in an instant, in the easiest, fastest, less painful way possible.
No more waiting, just immediately, at once, right now. Or else, they don't want it.
In this day and age, when a hurried life has become the representation of a roaring, successful life, patience has become a word for the weak.
Not only do people want their coffee or meal in an instant, but they want answers to their prayers, solutions to their problems, end of life's difficulties and be on top of the ladder in an instant as well. Believing that they deserve better than waiting and believing that waiting won't get them anywhere, people try to do it on their own and control everything the best they can. People take on the role of God, and patience becomes extinct.
In this day and age, because it needs so much time, effort, and sacrifice, even the patience to love is already lost.
What Is Patience?
The Oxford dictionary defines patience as "the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset," while another definition states that it is "an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay."
According to the Vocabulary dictionary, "Patience is a person's ability to wait something out or endure something tedious, without getting riled up. Having patience means you can remain calm, even when you've been waiting forever or dealing with something painstakingly slow. It involves acceptance and tolerance, and is usually easier to have when there's something in it for you at the end."
The common denominator of these definitions states that patience is a capacity or an ability, which means that it is something to be worked hard for, to be practiced daily for one to become better at it, just like any other ability or skill someone possesses. Thus, the famous phrase, "Patience is a virtue."
Yes, patience is a virtue, but it is not something one gets in an instant. Virtue is a strong suit and a long suit, and that is patience.
But all these definitions lack one important thing, the most important one actually.
There is no patience apart from God.
No matter how one practices it daily and gives full effort to master it, all would be meaningless if it is done without God because patience is not something one can produce on his/her own.
According to the New Bible Dictionary, patience is a "God-given restraint in the face of opposition or oppression." Patience is a God-given restraint. It is one of His gifts that can come only with the Holy Spirit, a fruit that one can produce if God is within that person, as the Bible proclaimed in Galatians 5:22-23, "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
Seeking and having patience is in many senses a battle, The Life expressed, and it is a battle that no one can win if not armed with the right weapon. It is only God that can provide Christians with the spiritual armor to go into that battle, and the only responsibility of every believer is to trust that God will provide the strength to hold on, to wait, to endure, and then act accordingly with faith.
How To Develop Patience?
So how do we develop patience? Or the right question one needs to ask is actually how does God develop patience in His believers?
1. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)
Patience is developed through trials, difficulties, and oppositions. Thus, in these trying times, especially for Christians when biblical morality is declining and the truth is being thrown away and faith is being questioned and tested, embrace this great opportunity to develop patience.
"Count it all joy," "Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying," (Romans 2:2), be grateful for trials because they will bring patience, as Christian Today stated.
One of the definitions above stated that it is usually easier to face trials when "there's something in it for you at the end." This is that something in the end - patience, which will make Christians complete and lack nothing.
2. "But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me-and by the Comforter I mean the Holy Spirit-he will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I Myself have told you." (John 14:26)
Patience is developed by trusting and cooperating with the Holy Spirit. Along with the other fruits, the Holy Spirit produces patience in believers. However, without listening, depending, and aligning one's self to the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus' representative, teaching and reminding every Christian of Jesus' teachings and instructions, no fruit will be borne.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit guides and leads believers into the truth. John 16:13 said, "When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth, for he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future."
When the believer is ushered on the path of truth, patience and the rest of the fruits of the Holy Spirit will tag along and make the journey so much more than meaningful.
3. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Do not lose sight of Jesus, the perfect leader, instructor, and model of patience, who endured the cross for the joy of every believer's salvation. Read the Bible, spend time with Jesus daily, know His stories, remember the miracles and testimonies He has shown and given, focus on Him and there will be Christlikeness.
With Christlikeness comes patience, an overflowing gift of grace in the daily life.
Jesus said in John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing," but with Him, believers will be able to do all good things, including and most especially being able to wait patiently in all circumstances and to wait patiently for the will of the Lord.
As Romans 8:23-25 proclaims, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."
Related Article: Gospel and Life with Tim Keller Trusting God in Difficult Time