“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” (James 1:2-4).
Patience, a fruit of the Spirit, has been described as love and endurance under pressure. Patience is a characteristic that is longsuffering and does not retaliate; a willingness to wait; to expect; to hope for.
We are not born with patience. We need only to hear a baby cry for their immediate needs or hear a child selfishly say, “No!” or “Mine!”. However, it doesn’t take much insight to see that maturity and strength under pressure is much more difficult than it is to return evil for evil and be swift to strike back. It takes courage, strength, and love not to return injury and insult to others. An old Chinese proverb says: “Patience is power. With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.” Patience is the ability to endure to the end.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that is to be demonstrated in our relationships with one another. Love suffers (endures) long, and we are called upon to be patient and forbearing with one another (1 Cor 13:4; Eph 4:2; Col 3:12). Love, with patience, hopes all things. Patience is not passive—it is consecrated active faith and strength.
The Hebrew writer tells us to run the race set before us with patience (Heb 12:1). Truly, life is much like a race, and patience keeps doing God’s will regardless of the difficulties or the discouragements. The New Testament word for patience means “to abide under.” We are reminded of the great patience of the prophets and Job in James 5:10-11. It does not suggest giving up, compromising, or becoming complacent. Patience is keeping the course despite our circumstances.
Patience has a calm anticipation of hope. The New Testament speaks of the patience of hope (Rom 5:4; 8:25). Hope produces patience. When we love and have hope in God, we are inclined to be more patient. If we believe in the promises of God, we can patiently wait for them. The hope, power, and blessings of the gospel fill us with patience.
Pessimism is often due to a lack of patience. We look around and see awful conditions and think God is too slow (read the book of Habakkuk as an example of this). Some lose their faith and hope, but true patience can wait, endure, and persevere. Let us not be like the one who prayed in this manner— “Lord, give me patience, and give it to me right now!” Therefore, LET PATIENCE HAVE ITS PERFECT WORK, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.” – By R. J. Evans