WEEK 9: Patience
Patience is something that all Christians are told to practise as it is one of the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. But many Christians seem to struggle when it comes to actually having patience. This is, I believe, because of a common misunderstanding that some people have of the meaning of the word. In the Scriptures that follow, we learn that patience is not just a virtue that should be strived for, but a character trait that implies an emotional and mental state of being that can only be achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We learn some interesting facts about patience when we look at the original Hebrew and Greek words for “patience”.
The Hebrew word for “patience” (‘ârêk) is used in Ecclesiastes 7:8 to refer to a person being slow to anger (an emotional state of fortitude).
The Greek word for “patience” (hupomonē) is used in Romans 2:7 to refer to cheerful or hopeful endurance or constancy (patient continuance). A lot of people seem to miss the cheerful part of this definition… we seem to think that having patience means grinning on the outside and painfully waiting for the suffering to end on the inside. This verse is, however, telling us that true patience means being cheerful in a bad or hopeless situation – which is much more of a challenge to us than just being paitent on the outside…
The meaning of the word hupomonē comes from another word, hupomenō, which means “to persevere, remain behind, stay under, bear trials and patiently suffer”. From this word, we learn that patience means staying cool when going through trials. It implies a state of submission to God through the situation – no matter how tough it might be at the time (mental state).
Lastly, we learn from 1 Timothy 3:3 that to have patience (epieikēs) means to exhibit moderation, gentleness and appropriate behavior in heated situations.
Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to become more patient in character. Ask the Lord to help you to become more stable in your emotions. Ask the Lord to help you to trust Him in difficult situations. Ask the Lord to help you to have hope in every situation and to joyfully endure whatever it is that you are going through. Ask the Lord to grant you the ability to be moderate, gentle and appropriate in your response when going through tense and stressful situations – as you patiently trust in Him for His provision, justice and deliverance.