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Patience:(Defined): Bearing or enduring pains, trials, or the like, without
Patience is a wonderful virtue which is mentioned throughout the scriptures.
It is a
virtue necessary for Christians to incorporate in their lives in order to live as God intended.
Throughout the Bible we see examples of patience manifested. First and foremost,
how that God is a “God of patience”: “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5).
We must be patient and consoling to one another even as God is to us.
Recall how God dealt patiently with Israel in their disobedience and rebellion time after time, but his patience was not inexhaustible, for he finally declared that they would not enter into his rest, and that only a remnant of Israel would be saved. He turned to the Gentiles who believed, embraced His law, and became His people. As concerning Israel, He declared: “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Romans 10:21). God also stated why He had not destroyed Israel:
“I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
Also, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, had the same patience as the Father.
We see his longsuffering in the Gospel of John, as he pleaded with the Jews
to believe on Him, and turn from their evil ways and be saved (but to no avail).
He was described as a man of
sorrows and acquainted with grief, and being despised and rejected of men. (Isaiah 53:3).
Nevertheless, He patiently endured trials and persecutions, and never became discouraged, for it was prophesied of Him: “He shall not fail nor be discouraged till He
have set judgment in the earth.” (Isaiah 42:4). In the end He was victorious for we read:
“He shall send forth judgment unto victory.” (Matthew 12:20)
Patience is also mentioned as a trait that the Elders need as they oversee
“Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;” They must be patient as they seek to teach the gainsaying person, or the erring
child of God, or the uninformed and ignorant soul they seek to convert. They must be
patient when they go to an erring church member to win them back to the fold, but often-
times only to be rebuffed, and rejected.
The aged men in the church also are admonished to have patience in their lives,
together with other virtues: “…that the aged men be sober, grave,
temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.” (Titus 2:2). However,
whether we are young or old, in this world we
are subject to disappointments, sadness, trials and temptations. For example, at times we must be patient when driving in traffic, and we see someone violating the rules, almost causing an accident. Or, we may be persecuted or reproached by others because we are Christians and do not live as the world does. These are the times when patience is so needed, and appreciated.
Members of the church are also admonished to have patience: For we are instructed:
“And let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking
unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith;” Living the Christian
life is a race to run, but not in an all-out burst of speed, but rather in a
steady, patient run to the end. (Hebrews 12:1).
Ministers and teachers of the gospel also are to possess patience in their work, for we read: “…and the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;” (II Timothy 2:24).
In teaching the erring and the lost, patience must be exercised together with gentleness, and meekness, in order to encourage them to obey the gospel.
Jesus taught His disciples: “In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19). We are to incorporate patience in our lives daily.
In the scriptures we also read of the faithful and obedient child of God who
manifests patience in his life, and we see what his or her reward will be: “Who(God)
will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance
in well doing seek
for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:” (Romans 2:6,7). We must never faint, nor be discouraged, but must patiently continue in well doing. “For in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9).
Patience is mentioned as having a “perfect work” in our lives,
for James said: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers
temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But
let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting
nothing.” (James 1:2-4). After we endure temptations and trials, we become
stronger and better because of enduring them; thus we let patience have her
perfect work, helping us to be more complete, and not be lacking in anything.
Paul said: “…tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience,
and experience, hope:”
We are also instructed by Paul to: “Be patient toward all men.” (I Thessalonians 5:14). We must be aware that not every person has faith, and that some engage in behavior which tries our patience; but just as Jesus showed compassion to those who were lost, and who wandered about as sheep having no shepherd, we must also exercise the same patience and understanding as He did. We must recognize that many of us were in the same condition that the wandering sinner is in, before we obeyed the gospel, and we certainly appreciated kindness and gentleness, together with patience, shown to us before we became a child of God.
Let us consider the patience of the Patriarch Job: After having lost his health,
being smitten by Satan with sore boils covering his body, having lost his children,
most of his servants, and his farm animals; having to endure his wife’s
discouraging words; having to suffer through his friends’ criticisms and
reproaches, thus, having lost his joy of living,
Job, through his patience and trust in God, was able to triumph in the end. For we read: “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:22). He kept his integrity till the end, and God rebuked his friends because of their unfair criticisms of Job, and He commended Job for his unfailing trust in God, and for his patient endurance till the end.
Therefore, Job was blessed more in his latter end than in his beginning, with a great number of farm animals, with seven sons and three daughters, who were very fair, and, finally, he was blessed with a long life.
The wisdom of Solomon said: “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning
thereof, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”
( Ecclesiastes 7: 8 ).
Because Job was patient all through his suffering and trials, his latter end was better than his beginning, and God blessed him abundantly. ( Job 42:12 ).
Other examples of those who exercised patience are : Noah, who preached for a hundred years to an unreceptive people, and saved only himself and his family ; Abraham, when he was told by God to offer up his son Isaac for a sacrifice, must have had great patience through the trial, together with his strong faith that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead; Moses, had to have great patience in leading the people of Israel through the wilderness, as they murmured, complained, committed idolatry, and otherwise disobeyed God; the prophets of God, manifesting patience as they were persecuted, put in prison, hidden in caves because of the enemy, and were even stoned to death because they proclaimed God’s message; finally, at a later time, the apostle Paul, “…approved himself as the minister of God in much patience;” (II Corinthians 6:4). He had to contend with false teachers, with many perils and dangers, with sufferings, imprisonment, and the care of all the churches.
Therefore, we can see that patience is a needed virtue in living our lives as God intended, and we can follow the examples of patience manifested by the worthy ones of old, and also by the faithful of our generation.
By Patrick Chaddick, January 21, 2009
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