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What Does the Bible Say About Patience? 3 Helpful Verses

Raise your hand if you’re good at patience! …You didn’t raise your hand, did you? Patience is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without complaining.” If you struggle with that last part about not complaining, take some comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Many believers struggle with that same characteristic. However, God’s Word has a lot of encouraging things to say about the topic of patience.

GOD IS PATIENT

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Psalm 103:8

The God who calls us to patience doesn’t do so without being patient Himself. Throughout Scripture, we clearly see how God displays love, mercy and patience. For example, the Israelites repeatedly rebelled and sinned against God. Yet He continued to wait for them to return to Him so that they could be restored. He’s also patient with Israel’s enemies, too. In the book of Jonah, God withholds His righteous judgment and gives them a chance to repent by sending a prophet to them.

Just as He was patient with them, He’s still patient with us today. Have you ever noticed how God doesn’t immediately rain down fire on you every time you sin? As the righteous One who makes the rules, He has every right to do so. But out of love, He delights in patience, with a goal that reveals the kindness of His heart.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

PATIENCE IS A FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

patience fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25

Patience is most definitely not a natural human reaction to our challenging circumstances. When we want something, our flesh wants it NOW. We want our spouse to stop driving us crazy NOW. We want our kids to clean their rooms NOW. We want our lazy coworkers to step it up NOW. And we want God to answer our prayers (the way we want) NOW. 

Our human nature is all about now. But by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we can live free from our sinful, selfish, gotta-have-it-now feelings. Instead, we can endure our spouse when they want to joke around and you’re not in the mood. By the Spirit, we can be slow to anger and give our children another chance to get it right. In the workplace, we can do our jobs well while we wait and hope that others follow our lead. And with patience, we can leave our prayers at the feet of Jesus and watch as He answers for our good, according to His own perfect timing. 

RELATED: 3 Important Marriage Reminders for the Christian Wife

IT’S A SHOW OF LOVE

love is patient

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

1 Corinthians 13:4

If you’ve ever attended a wedding, you’ve likely heard a substantial chunk of 1 Corinthians 13. It’s affectionately referred to as the “love chapter” of the Bible, detailing how love behaves. But did you notice the very first descriptor of love? It’s patient. If we truly love people how God intends, it will reveal itself in how patient we are with them. In love, God shows His patience to us every single day. So in love, as children of God, holy as He is holy, we can show that same patience to those around us, too.

RELATED: What Does the Bible Say About Love? 3 Lessons for Today

HOW ARE YOU AT PATIENCE?

Is patience easy for you? How has the Lord taught you patience throughout your life? Tell us in the comments!

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