Remember that the Virtues of Patience and Faith are intimately linked. We can’t have Patience without Faith, and Patience is an act of Faith.
The Victory in Virtue Series
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. Today’s post is on the Virtue of Patience.
The Virtue of Patience is lacking in today’s fast-paced world of instant gratification. Everyone is used to getting what they want right now. So many services and businesses are almost instant. We aren’t used to waiting, and we don’t like doing it.
Well this is harmful for us as Christians, because God often calls us to wait. Sometimes it’s His Will that we slow down and go without the instant gratification we want. This makes us choose the much better quality delayed gratification God has planned for us later, if we have the Patience to wait for it. It’s the waiting that makes us uncomfortable. But if we’re willing to wait for God instead of acting on our own, we show Him we have great Faith in Him and His Word.
That’s why we can’t have Patience without Faith, and Patience is an act of Faith. The two Virtues are always connected
So that’s the topic for today. Let’s get right into it.
What Is the Virtue of Patience?
“Patience is a Virtue!”
My worldly father, who had incredible patience, always used to tell us this. I didn’t realize how patient he was until later though. In hindsight, I could see how patient he was throughout his whole life, in good times and bad. He was always OK with waiting a little longer for things. Waiting a little longer for the right time to make big choices, waiting a little longer to buy something, and so on. He didn’t let this world or other people rush him and his decisions. And he didn’t let greed for anything push him into a hasty decision. At least, not in any major situation.
I wish I had patience like my worldly father had.
Because it’s hard to have patience. Exercising patience hurts. It hurts because we have an urge or desire to do something or gain something, but that wish must go unfulfilled for as long as we don’t have what we wish for. It also hurts because as long as things aren’t going our way, the world can feel out of control for us. And it also hurts because we have a natural tendency to want things done fast or get them fast. If we want something, anything, of course we’d like to have it now if at all possible. Why wouldn’t we? But the Virtue of Patience calls for us to suppress that instinct.
But the main reason patience hurts is that first reason I mentioned. When we want something, and we don’t have it, we have to wait for it, and that can hurt. It can hurt more and more as the wait gets longer and longer. The whole time during this wait, we don’t have what we want, or things aren’t the way we want. And that causes pain.
It’s fitting that many translations of the Bible use the word “long-suffering” instead of patience. Check out the ASV version of Galatians 5:22, which talks about the Fruits of the Spirit:
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,Galatians 5:22 (ASV)
Long-suffering. Suffering for a long time. That’s easy to remember, right? And it’s an accurate definition, because even the word patience implies suffering. When we exercise the Virtue of Patience, we’re enduring through a situation that isn’t to our liking. But with the Virtue of Patience, we suffer through it, without causing a ruckus or losing our cool.
I’ll raise a few examples of situations that call for Patience, so you can see what I mean by it.
- When we’re single, but would like to be in a Christian marriage—we need Patience
- When we’re praying for someone to accept Christ and/or change their sinful ways—we need Patience
- When we’re waiting on slow service at the bank or a store—we need Patience
In each of these situations, we would be suffering some negative emotion. When we’re single but praying for marriage, we feel loneliness. We need to exercise Patience in our loneliness, and trust God that He will bless us with a relationship. When we’re praying for someone to change their ways or accept Christ, we feel sadness over their actions or them not being saved. We need to exercise Patience through the sadness, trusting that God hears our prayers and will reach out to the person when it’s time. When we’re waiting too long at the store (etc.), we feel frustrated or even angry at the delay. We need to exercise Patience to quiet the anger, feeling Charity toward the workers who are helping each customer. We need to trust in God that whatever delay we suffer because of slow service, everything we need to do will get done somehow, and things will be alright.
When we exercise the Virtue of Patience, we accept a situation that isn’t to our liking. Acceptance doesn’t mean we have to be happy with the situation, and we can be honest with God about that. But acceptance means we accept that “this is how it is for now,” and we don’t despair over it or feel ungrateful to God for it. We also don’t try to take matters into our own hand to change the situation. We trust in God to work things out instead. That could be the most important point.
The Virtue of Patience has a lot to do with the Virtue of Faith. Why suffer through a situation not to our liking? Why not take matters into our own hands, to try and “fix” it? Because we have Faith in God, that’s why. We believe in the promises of the Bible, that our God hears us and is always with us. God will work out our situation for our ultimate good, but He will do it in His time. In His Divine Wisdom, He will take care of things with the timing that will work best. On our part, what we need to do is pray, have Faith in Him, and obey Him.
We need to be Patient while we wait, not ungrateful to God or angry with Him. We can be honest that we don’t like or enjoy the situation. But we need to have the Virtue of Patience, accept things for how they are, and wait either for them to change or for a God-given opportunity to change them. We need to have Faith in God’s Word. We know that God is always working things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). If we stay Faithful to Him, He will be Faithful to us.
(28) We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28 (CEB)
As we exercise Patience to endure a situation we don’t like, we must have Faith and Hope that things will change. This is something God often calls us to do, and if we look in the Old Testament, we see Him doing this over and over to those He loves. Why does He do this? Sometimes He does it because the blessing needs time before it’s ready. Sometimes He needs us to not have the blessing until we’re ready for it. He uses the time we don’t have it to teach and mature us, and get us ready for it. And sometimes He does this to test us. He wants to see if we have the Faith it takes to wait in Patience without taking matters into our own hands. If we do take matters into our own hands, it shows a lack of Faith on our part.
What this all comes down to is honoring God’s Will instead of our will. It’s accepting God’s Will, and accepting that we can’t have some blessing right now. It’s having the Patience to wait on God’s Will, without exalting our will over His and taking matters into our own hands.
If we do take matters into our own hands, God allows us to do it because He gave us free will. This includes the free will to disobey Him. But if we take matters into our own hands, refusing to wait on God Patiently, that’s when things go bad for us. We can’t get things right on the same level God can. When we insist on doing things on our own, we screw them up. We need to be Patient and follow God’s guidance, and all His instruction. He uses our waiting time to teach and guide us to the true blessing He has in store for us. We need to have the Virtue of Patience in this waiting time, understanding that it’s best to wait for God.
Besides that, the real problem when we take matters into our own hands is that we exalt our own will over God’s. I’ve written before about making an idol of our own will—this means having it our way no matter what. Check out Part 40: “I Will” vs. “Thy Will” for more on this. This is the essence of Satanism, and their core teaching (“do as thou wilt”). This was the same sin that got Satan ejected from Heaven—the sin of rebelling against God to exalt himself and do what he wanted. God gives us the free will even to rebel against Him, but if we insist on taking matters into our own hands to change a situation, we miss out on God’s true blessing and He will let us have the consequences.
For an example of this, let’s imagine an example. We want to be in a Christian marriage, but we’re too lonely and can’t exert the Patience we need to long-suffer through the loneliness. So we go get into a relationship with a non-Christian against God’s Will, all to soothe our loneliness. The relationship later breaks up because of differences in belief. Now we’re worse off than before. We should have been more Patient.
So there we have it. Taking matters into our own hands shows a lack of Faith in God, and it’s also an act of exalting our own will over God’s. So it’s a double sin. The Virtue of Patience isn’t easy, because it means enduring something we don’t like. But it’s much better for us in the end, and we should use our waiting time to pray and listen to God. If we do, we’ll very likely find that He’s trying to teach us some things, to mature us and get us ready for a blessing He wants to give us. No matter what though, we need to have Faith that He will work things out for our good if we love Him (Romans 8:28).
And so we see that the Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Patience go hand in hand. How else could we Patiently endure through situations we don’t want? With the Virtue of Patience, we submit to God’s Will and accept how things are now, while having trust in God (Faith and Hope) that they’ll be better later.
On a lesser note, we also need to use the Virtue of Patience to endure the little delays and frustrations in life. Things like heavy traffic jams, slow service at a store, mistakes with our food order at a restaurant, that kind of thing. We must calmly accept the delay, understanding it can’t be helped or that it’s no one’s fault, and stand firm in our Christian love, not taking our anger out on others. Anyone we could get angry with probably doesn’t deserve it anyway. It takes Patience to endure these little delays without getting angry, frustrated, or whatever. To stay calm and realize that the delay (etc.) won’t even matter in the long-term. Well this is also part of the Virtue of Patience. When we stay patient through all these types of frustrations and delays, God is pleased with us.
And now, let’s move on to some prayers for the Virtue of Patience.
Prayers for the Virtue of Patience
There are many prayers we could pray to receive the Virtue of Patience. The best ones of course will be the ones that we create ourselves—the ones that come straight from the heart. Remember: When we pray we aren’t trying to say the right combination of words to unlock something in Heaven. No, that would be magic, which is an abomination to the LORD. Prayer is much simpler. Simply tell the LORD what you want, what you need, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, and so on.
Praying for a Virtue is a great way to build it up. It’s one of the best ways, actually. So here are a few short, simple prayers for the Virtue of Patience you can try adding to your prayer routine.
Thy Will, not My Will, Be Done
As I explained, a large part of the Virtue of Patience is being willing to wait on God. To be on God’s time, not our time. Though we may desperately desire some blessing, or for some circumstances to change, we accept and endure our current reality, always staying grateful to God.
This is hard for a few reasons. Besides having to endure through a situation we don’t like, we also have to suppress our natural instinct to get up and take matters into our own hands. With enough experience we learn that taking matters into our own hands to make something change instead of waiting on God is where we screw up. But the desire and the instinct to do that is always there.
So here’s a quick prayer asking for the Virtue of Patience. This prayer asks God for the strength to endure hard situations, and to refrain from acting too hasty on our own will.
LORD, I thank You for everything and all my blessings. Though I may not enjoy this current season of my life, I accept it and submit to Your Will for my life. Please grant me the Patience to endure to the end of this difficult time. Please grant me the Patience to not ruin my blessings by making an idol of my own will, and acting on my own will instead of following Yours. Because I know that You will end this season when it’s the right time, and I know that what You have planned is far greater than anything I could ever create for myself. So please grant me the Patience to wait on Your time, not mine. Amen.
Grant Me Patient Faith
I explained that Faith is a crucial part of the Virtue of Patience. Without the Virtue of Faith, we could have no Patience. These two Virtues are intimately connected.
With the Virtue of Faith we have the endless Hope that can only come from firm belief in God’s promises and His Word. Without this Hope, our Patient wait would be unbearable (and unendurable) because we’d see nothing good at the end to look forward to. Exercising the Virtue of Patience is an act of Faith, then. Our actions show that we trust in God and His promises, and we will wait Patiently in Faith that better days are coming.
So this is a quick prayer asking for stronger Faith as we wait Patiently for God to act on our behalf.
LORD, please grant me strong Faith to endure till the end of this difficult season. I have Faith in You, in Your promises, and in Your Word. Please grant me the strong Faith I need to have the Virtue of Patience, and to wait Patiently in contentment and gratitude for You to change my situation. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Definitely Worth the Wait!
I always say that we should be simple and straightforward in our prayers. We should always get to the point, because God always knows what’s in our heart and what we really want to ask. So why beat around the bush? That’s pointless in any situation, but even more so when talking to God.
So here is a quick prayer for Patience that I found from ChristiansTT.com, a site I’ve linked to before. You can find the prayer HERE, so check out that link for even more prayers for Patience. I like this prayer because it’s very short and sweet, with no wasted words. Again, you can find it HERE.
Grant me patience LORD, as I await Your answers to my call. Teach me to be still in the midst of the storms.
LORD, Your timing is always perfect, never too early and never too late. Knowing that You hold the future, it is definitely worth the wait!
Again, there are so many options for praying for any Virtue. I could go on and on and on. Everyone is always welcome to leave a comment with prayers of their own.
But once we’re done praying, it’s time to take action (in the physical world). Let’s move on to that now.
Living the Virtue
To cultivate a Virtue, we must also practice it, and do that consistently. Don’t just do it a few times and stop there—stay consistent. That consistency is how we build up a habit. It’s also how we cultivate and strengthen a virtue.
So how can we do that with Patience? Let’s look at a few practical ideas. And remember: These are only a start! The possibilities are endless. I welcome any comments with good ideas about this.
Here are just a few ideas of how we can live out the Virtue of Patience in our own lives:
- Write down how God has already blessed You, and give thanks for those; think of what you have and not what you don’t have
- Prepare yourself to act on any surprise opportunities God might present to you by saving up money or stockpiling resources, etc.
- Do research and reading about the blessing you want, so you’ll be more prepared for it when God gives it to you (for example, research parenting and talk to other parents if you want children)
- And other ideas you can think of!
God wants us to focus on what we have, and for us to be content with what He’s given us. The devil wants us to focus on what we don’t have, so we become discontent and even bitter toward God. When we’re going through a hard time, it’s easy to lose focus on how God has blessed us in our lives. Our pain (etc.) takes center stage, and we question why God does this to us. But pain is for everyone, even the Righteous. Everyone is guaranteed pain and suffering in this life.
When the pain of a hard season is all we see, we start to lose our gratitude toward God. Without God, waiting Patiently for the end of this painful season becomes even harder. Writing down the ways God has already blessed us in life helps us get our perspective and attitude correct. Because everyone has been blessed in some ways. When we think of what we do have instead of what we don’t, or, if we think about how God has blessed us instead of our current suffering, it allows us to see the hand of God at work in our lives. And this helps give us the strength and Faith we need to Patiently endure till the end of our allotted suffering. When we know and feel God is with us, we can endure.
Next, although we should never take matters into our own hands to change a situation, God can surprise us when it’s the right time with a great chance to change everything. So, waiting Patiently with the Hope of that, and praying every day for the Wisdom to recognize such opportunities, we can exercise the Virtue of Patience and Prudence by preparing ourselves to grab those opportunities.
This could mean saving up money, stockpiling resources, making personal connections, taking certain jobs; all kinds of things. Our aim is to be ready to act when a surprise opportunity arises. Let’s think of an example. Let’s say you dream of starting a business or something. You pray to the LORD every day for the Wisdom to recognize a chance to start your business. You also save up as much money as you can, and do research about the industry your business is part of. You talk to people in the industry and gather as much info as you can.
One day, when the LORD surprises you with a great chance to get your business started (for example, maybe someone is selling some equipment you need for a good low price), you’re prepared to act quick and take that opportunity. You already have the money, knowledge, or connections you need to get started. All you needed was to wait on God for the right chance. We can exercise the Virtue of Patience by getting ready for that chance. Patiently preparing the things we need, and not taking matters into our own hands. Patiently waiting on the LORD, but not sitting idle either. And that also relates to the next point.
In general, God wants to bless us with what we want. If it’s something good and Biblical, we can have Faith that He wants to grant it to us. But before He will bless us, God likes to prepare us first so that we can take care of and keep the blessing He wants to give. So He often uses our waiting time, when we don’t have the blessing, to get us ready to receive the blessing.
This is very important. Because it’s one thing to get the blessing. We could say that’s the easy part. It’s another story altogether to hold on to the blessing. That’s the hard part.
So while we exercise the Virtue of Patience and wait on God, we can do all that’s within our power to prepare for a future blessing. We keep praying about it every day, but also do some work of our own to learn more about it. For example, I mentioned parenthood above. If that’s something we want, we could spend time every day reading about and researching that. We could talk to other parents (and we should). We could babysit or tutor our friends’ or relatives’ children.
None of the things I mentioned would fall under “taking matters into our own hands.” All these things are only done to learn more about a blessing we want, so we’re more prepared to receive the blessing when it’s time. And all these things are done on top of our daily prayers for them. So, we can build the Virtue of Patience by learning about and preparing for a blessing every day, without taking matters into our own hands to make that blessing happen for us. Without forcing anything. We show God our Patience through our daily prayers and preparation, while still waiting on Him to inspire us when it’s time to move.
Faith Is Patient, Patience Is Faith
Remember that the Virtues of Patience and Faith are intimately linked. We can’t have Patience without Faith, and Patience is an act of Faith. When we exercise the Virtue of Patience in waiting for change or for a blessing, we show God our Faith in Him, His Word, and His promises.
When we accept our present situation, that doesn’t mean we have to be happy with what we’re going through. We can be honest with God, letting Him know that we’d like things to change. But when we exercise the Virtue of Patience and accept what God has given us to deal with, continuing to live our lives and being grateful to God, we do great honor to God. We can only do this if we have strong Faith in God and His Word. That’s what gives us the Hope to endure to the end of our current difficulties without rebelling by taking matters into our own hands.
When we take matters into our own hands to try to change things, we show discontentment (which is ungratefulness), and exalt our own will above God’s. We also show that we have no Patience for waiting on God’s time. When we choose to follow our own will, God will let us make that mistake. And it is a mistake, because nothing we can get done by our own power can even compare to what God has planned for us.
That’s why it’s the devil who tries to tempt us into acting on our own will and too soon, before we’re ready. God wants us to spend the time we need getting ready to not only get a blessing, but to be mature enough to keep it. Satan wants to see us broken and defeated, so he tempts us to act against God’s Will and before we’re ready. Then we’ll get our blessing and lose it because we weren’t ready. We will have rebelled against God, and Satan will laugh.
We need to be Patient and have Faith. We need to always be grateful to God for our blessings, even in hard times. Especially in hard times.
We need to have Faith in God and the Hope of His Word. This gives us the strength to endure till the end of hard times. This act of enduring in Hopeful Faith is what the Virtue of Patience is all about. It doesn’t mean we enjoy our hardship or lack of something. But it means we are grateful to God and content in Him, willing to wait for Him to improve our situation instead of going off on our own to take care of things how we see fit at the moment.
That would be exalting our own will over God’s, and always ends in disaster.
We need to exercise the Virtue of Patience, humbling ourselves to God and waiting for His timing, not ours. Being content with Him and obeying His Will, not exalting our own. This is never easy, because it goes against our natural instincts. But as one of the prayers above says: “It’s definitely worth the wait!”
Next time this series turns to the topic of vices. We’re going to look at various vices, and start learning about what not to do as Christians. The vice for next time is gluttony. Stay tuned for that and Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter with the link below so you’ll never miss a post!!
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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