By R.J. Evans
W.E. Vine defines “patience” as “an abiding under.” Thus, patience can be thought of as “uncomplaining endurance.” We are told by the inspired apostle Peter to “add . . . to temperance patience” (2 Pet. 1:6). This grace must be added to our lives if we are going to be successful in living the Christian life. But by so doing, much effort and diligence on our part is required. The so-called patience of some can best be illustrated by the one who prayed: “Lord, give me patience and give it to me right now!”
Patience is needed in every phase and aspect of life. It is needed in youth where there is a tendency to be overly zealous and eager; it is needed in adulthood when it is so easy to lose control of the temper; and it is also essential during old age when periods of gloom can be so prevalent. The Bible has much to say about patience. But in this article we shall focus our attention primarily on situations wherein patience is needed. They are as follows:
In Well Doing
“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life” (Rom. 2:7). This verse emphasizes the fact that we must continue on or persevere in good works if we are going to be saved in the end. The idea of being patient in well doing is also expressed in Galatians 6:9: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Much opposition will be encountered when we do good, but we must “keep on keeping on!”
All faithful Christians suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). Hence, during these times of affliction, we must patiently endure it. Paul instructs us to be “patient in tribulation” (Rom. 12:12). Christ is our perfect example of one who exercised patience in tribulation (see 1 Pet. 2:21-23). The apostle Paul commended the Thessalonian brethren in this regard: “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure” (2 Thess. 1:4).
In Dealing With All Men
“Now we exhort you brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men” (1 Thess. 5:14). We must be longsuffering or patient when dealing with perverse views, defects, and the sins of men. Being “patient toward all men” involves our not being easily offended. We must bear long with all: with the lost – in hopes of seeing them led to obedience through our teaching efforts; with the lukewarm – in meekness, considering ourselves (Gal. 6:1); and with the disorderly – admonishing him as a brother (2 Thess. 3:15).
In The Race That Is Set Before Us
In the Scripture, the Christian life has been likened to a race. It is a continuous race that must be run to the end. Running this race involves hardships and difficulties which must be met. Therefore, patience is needed! “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).
In Waiting For Our Reward
“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:25). The farmer best illustrates this point. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain ” (Jas. 5:7-8). Also, we must consider the fact that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
We must heed God’s counsel concerning patience. By so doing, we have a good influence on others, and most importantly, it prepares us for the eternal reward in the hereafter. “For we have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Heb. 10:36).
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 4, p. 101
February 16, 1989