What is Patience? It Is Waiting While Doing Something!
Oxford dictionary defines patience as the ability to stay calm and accept a delay or something annoying without complaining. In other words, it is not the end in itself but a journey. It is not a life, but a section of it. You don’t become patient forever but for a time because of the delay. But what makes it possible? Hope. The hope that your desires (or better things) shall one day come makes us become patient with the current troubles or delay. Listen to Paul say it;
“And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. We also have joy with our troubles, because we know these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us..(Romans 5:3-5). Also, read James 1:2-4 (be joyful when troubles come your way because through them you become patient and later shall get everything you ever needed), 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (May the Lord lead your hearts into Gods love and Christ’s patience).
People have defined patience in various ways. Some say that it is waiting without complaining. Some say that it is “something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in the one ahead” (Bill Meglashen). And others say it is “being extraordinarily patient as long as you get your own way at the end” (Margaret Thatcher, 1989-Ex Prime Minister of England). All these people have it right considering their contexts, but what should it be to us as Christians?
“By your patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:19 NKJV). “By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Luke 21:19 ESV). I see patience not as waiting but doing. It is an action and not a mental state, at least not a mental or belief state only but action. Of course, we exercise patience using our minds but that is no longer waiting but acting. Let us look at the above verse;
By your patience (action), the soul possess (acquire) riches. In other words, when we bear all the troubles, pain and challenges, persecution, hunger and dryness for God’s sake, we are actually storing riches for our souls in heaven. Listen to John Gill’s commentary on this verse; “by patiently bearing all afflictions, reproaches, indignities, and persecutions, enjoy yourselves; let nothing disturb or distress you...” This verse is openly saying that we exercise patience when we persevere in the ways of God and truths of Jesus Christ and that’s when we are scheduling ourselves for the glory to come. And believe me, obedience to God’s word is action (whether doing what God orders us to do or not doing that which He says we shouldn’t do is ACTION).
So How Do You Become Patient?
I, with the guidance of bible, have already showed that patience is action and now let’s look at how we manage the action.
ALSO READ: Action-Reward Philosophy
In action reward philosophy, we had some deductions and one of them was this; if action A is failing you to accomplish, then you may need to review the rewards attached to it. My point was every sacrifice, patience or endurance we exercise is motivated by a reward attached to such long suffering. In other words, we are able to exercise patience because we know that patience builds our character that later build up our hope, the hope for the future glory (Romans 5:3-5). We thus are able to exercise patience obeying His word not because we are wanna just be good, but because of the gains and rewards promised to us.
Doesn’t the above revelation give a clue on how to become or exercise patience? Yes, it does; we become patient by understanding, defining, and attaching the right and true rewards onto our actions. And this brings us to the definition of patience as given by Ex England Prime Minister Margaret (1989); “being patient as long as you get your way” (in our case, our way is Christ’s way and the rewards attached). And finally, this brings us to my words; patience is waiting while doing something. In other words, it is waiting onto the marvelous glory to come while obeying God’s word in this life.
Scholarly and scientifically or psychologically, many tips have been proposed to help an individual develop and become more patient, and these include; practicing gratitude, being mindful of what is making you feel rushed, making yourself wait, doing some deep breathing, and so much more (see the details here; 5 tricks to become more patient, 15 tips for becoming as patient as Job). At Health and Life platform, I have always confessed how I love psychological articles at Psychology Today, and so here are their 4 steps to developing patience;
1. Understand the addictive nature of anger, irritation, and outrage
2. Upgrading our attitude towards discomfort and pain (the purpose of patience)
3. Pay attention when irritation or pain starts
Remember, all the above scholarly steps are about the worldly patience and how to achieve it but the patience in the Christian sense is a virtue and, like all other spiritual virtues, can be made possible through our relationship with Jesus who makes us perfect and patiently waiting for the glory to come.
God Bless You