I think I can safely say that we (believers in Christ) all have a need for more patience. The first thing we must acknowledge is that patience does NOT come naturally; that is, it is not a quality of the fallen human nature we were born with. In Galatians 5:19-21 we have a list of character traits of our fallen nature (which the Bible refers to as “the flesh”). Here are five of them: “Now the deeds of THE FLESH are evident, which are…strifes, angers, contentions, disputes, schools of opinion” (Darby Version). These all speak of our tendency to be IMPATIENT with people, for quarreling can lead to outbursts of anger which in turn can lead to separating into different parties.

The good news is God has given us power to defeat the flesh with its ugly deeds, for every believer has the Holy Spirit living in them (see John 14:17; Romans 8:9; 1st Corinthians 6:19) and if we allow the Spirit to control us the “works of THE FLESH” will kept at bay. Galatians 5:16 declares, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of THE FLESH.” When we are controlled by the Spirit, He will produce godly character traits in us as we see in verses 22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (NASB). As you can see, the “fruit of the Spirit” is the very opposite of the “works of the flesh.” We see here that PATIENCE is included in this lovely nine-fold cluster of fruit, which means that we have the ability, through the power of the Spirit, to patiently deal with people who may be hard to get along with.

We have just considered having patience with people, but we also need patience during trials in our life, trials that may not involve people but troubling circumstances. In James 1:2-4 we read, “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.” We learn a wonderful truth in this passage, for we are told that God actually uses trials to PRODUCE PATIENCE in us. As I write out this answer we are all in a very serious trial that we have never experienced before. I’m speaking of the Coronavirus pandemic that has affected nearly every country in the world and has surely upended the lives of most people. How are we, as believers in Christ, handling this trial? Do we find ourselves anxious and fearful and hoping we can get out of the trial as quickly as possible? It is times like these we need PATIENCE. God is “testing our faith” and if we trust Him in the trial He will indeed, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, produce in us the “fruit of PATIENCE.” The Apostle Paul agreed with James about this for he wrote these words in Romans 5:3, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that TRIBULATION PRODUCES PATIENCE.” In producing patience in us God is producing Christlikeness in us and this is His chief goal for the believer. All of those lovely moral qualities mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 were on display in Christ from the manger to the cross and God’s desire is to see His children manifesting those same qualities. As a refiner of gold uses fire to remove the dross and to see his reflection, so God uses “fiery trials” (see 1st Peter 1:6-7) to see the image of Christ in us.

James ends his book on the same note for in James 5:7-8 he exhorts us, “Therefore be PATIENT, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being PATIENT about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be PATIENT; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” Just as a farmer exercises patience as he waits for God to give him rain and a good harvest, we too can be patient as we wait for the coming of the Lord. His soon return is both a motive and an incentive to be patient. The trials of this life (big or small) are going to end and we need to keep our eye on “the end of the journey” when Christ will translate us from earth to eternal glory. In that moment every trial, with its accompanying sorrows and pain, will cease forever. In their place we will reap a harvest of unending joy and bliss. Until then…BE PATIENT! (416.3)  (DO)