Many of us have heard the saying, “patience is a virtue”. Does that simply refer to one’s ability to refrain from getting upset when plans don’t go as expected? Perhaps it could be alluding to one’s ability to wait or be still in the moments of testing; when we must trust God to work a situation out? More importantly, why is patience referred to as a virtue?
The definition for virtue is: ‘conformity to one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles’. Virtue also means: uprightness, moral excellence, and righteousness. Patience is one of the twelve fruits of the Spirit spoken about in the Bible (Galatians 5:22). We need the Holy Spirit to impart these spiritual fruits into us, as the fruits of the Spirit are the virtues of our Heavenly Father. It is this godly character that proves whether we’re walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
When looking at people in the Bible, many stories come to mind regarding those that exhibited patience. One prominent example we see in scripture is Job. He was a man who had everything at one point in time: a wife, ten children, thousands of flocks of animals, servants, and great wealth overall. Job was a man who reverenced the Lord, he was perfect and upright (Job 1:1). There came a point in time when the LORD allowed Satan to test him; Job’s servants and children were killed, his animals stolen, and he was also stricken with a horrible skin disease (Job 1 & 2). Throughout this traumatic experience we see Job worshiping the Lord, inquiring of the Lord, and defending his faith to his wife and friends. Through the entire time of his testing, one of the many things that Job displayed was patience. He was suffering yet, he didn’t curse God. He had lost everything and his health was failing him, but He knew that the Lord was still worthy to be praised no matter what the circumstances were at that point in time. His ability to endure the hardships proved that patience was one of the virtues being shaped and molded within him. Job was blessed two times over after he passed his test; everything he had that was taken, was multiplied greatly and the Lord also restored his health.
Joseph was also a well-known man in bible history. The process the Lord took him through proves that Joseph had to have patience as well. Due to their jealousy of him, his brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:18-36). He was also sold (as a slave) to an Egyptian officer, a captain of the royal guard (Genesis 37:36). He was given a position of leadership in Potiphar’s house and things began to look up for Joseph. As If that wasn’t enough to instill patience in him, he was later thrown into prison again due to a false accusation made against him by his master’s wife. He remained faithful to the Lord whilst in prison, and was kept there until he was released to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Joseph eventually became the vice-regent in Egypt due to his integrity, loyalty, and wise counsel, which he received from the Lord. Joseph was a key figure in Egypt who allowed the Lord to instill many things in him during his journey leading to his success. He patiently waited for the Lord to fulfill His good and perfect plan in his life.
If we had a list, we could write about many other great figures in the Bible that also displayed patience. If one were chosen to take the number one spot on that list, then surely Jesus would be at the very top. Jesus was the prime example of someone who had mastered patience. He proved this when He humbled Himself to teach the multitudes. Even though many didn’t understand what He was teaching, He pressed forward and continued to go out to teach the word/Torah properly to the people. If that wasn’t enough to prove His mastery in this area, everything leading up to His crucifixion proved this fact. Jesus (our Lord and Savior) was spat upon, mocked, beaten, and whipped to the extent His flesh was ripped from his body. Through it all, He quietly carried His own cross to the place where He would be crucified. Even after they nailed Him to the cross and pierced His side with a spear, Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing,”(Luke 23:34)
Right up to the end, Jesus was understanding, forgiving, and genuinely showing us what it looks like to be patient. In the Amplified Bible, in Galatians 5:22, the word patient is replaced with the word longsuffering. This is a synonym for patience and it means: ‘having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people’. Jesus knew He would have to die for undeserving people, but He still died for the sins of the world. Someone who was blameless and kind, was revealing to us how to walk in this way. His endurance, His love for mankind, and the longsuffering He demonstrated for us was the greatest example we will ever see.
Patience is a virtue of our Heavenly Father. When we learn how to walk in patience, we are becoming like God and taking on His character and nature. We obtain one of the fruits of the Spirit. That patience must be tested within us, so that the Lord can perfect us in this area. I encourage my brothers and sisters to study out various figures in the Bible that went through trials and hardships in order to come out stronger, more disciplined, wiser, and more humbled after the experience. I guarantee you’ll be encouraged to push forward and overcome in this area, so that the Lord can promote you as well. He has amazing things in store for His people; the greatest of all is that He wants us to be like Him. Our desire as children of the Highest should be to walk in the footsteps of our Father. After all, we were made in His image.
Be blessed Saints!
“Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”Genesis 1:26