Did that title get your attention? Did you think, “How can he be so arrogant?“. Well I can say it, because I am a saint! “What?“, I can hear you say, “How can you speak like that?“. OK, hold on! Let me explain:
The normal image of a saint is either one of the original apostles, like Saint Peter, or Saint John, or Saint James; or it could be the Catholic image of someone who has been deemed by a pope, past or present, to be a saint; or it could be someone who is extraordinarily patient (like a snail trying to get somewhere) – which is what people mean when they say that someone has the patience of a saint. However, none of these definitions are Biblical. The Biblical, New Testament, definition of a saint is anyone who is a believer in Jesus Christ, so that includes you & me. Let me show you some of the verses, which talk about saints.
- “He (Peter) came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.” Acts 9:32
- “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” Romans 1:7
- “That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints.” Romans 16:2
Patience is on the inside of you, ready to be developed, ready to be used.
But this is not a post about saints, this is a post about patience. So let me get back to what I said in the title of this post, “I Have The Patience Of A Saint” and now let me add, “and if you are a born again Christian, so do you“. Of course you may not be displaying any patience at the moment, or you maybe you are – don’t get angry with me and prove my point! People who know you may argue with me and say that you do not have any patience, but the truth is, you do. It is on the inside of you, ready to be developed, ready to be used. How do I know this? Because I know that if you have received Jesus as your Saviour, the Holy Spirit dwells in you and one part of the fruit of the Spirit is patience.
Wouldn’t you love to be able to stop getting irritated with people?
The patience that God has placed on the inside of you is not just going to work all by itself though – you probably already know that! No, as with all the other parts of the fruit of the Spirit, it needs to be practiced and developed, in the same way that muscles are developed through use and physical exercise. It’s going to take some effort to develop the patience that’s on the inside of you, but it’s worth it! Wouldn’t you love to be able to stop getting irritated with people? Wouldn’t you love it, if you could wait patiently without getting wound up? Well the good news is – you can, and even better this is only part of what patience can do, if you will put the effort in to develop it. Let’s look at James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing“. The end result sounds pretty good doesn’t it? That you may be perfect (or complete), wanting nothing. But let’s clarify a few things about the process involved in getting there.
Why does your patience need to be developed?
These verses start out with a phrase which, until you read on, seems to be completely ridiculous. The Easy to Read Version puts it this way, “My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy“. Try telling that to people and they’re liable to either laugh in your face or get very angry with you. However James has a point to make, he is going somewhere with this, so stick with him. Verse 3 says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience“. The reason that you can ‘count it all joy’, the ‘reason to be very happy’ is that you recognise that this is an opportunity to develop your patience. But why is that good? Why does your patience need to be developed? Because of the end result that we have already looked at, “That you may be perfect (or complete), wanting nothing“. Paul expresses similar sentiments in Romans 5:3-4, “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope“.
Faith to receive the promises of God is not enough, it also takes patience.
Let me be clear though, neither James, nor Paul are talking about sitting there quietly, not complaining, muttering quietly to yourself, “All things work together for good“, while the devil attacks you. If you do that, there is not going to be a good outcome. James and Paul are talking about taking a stand of faith, against whatever is coming against you. To patiently and steadfastly endure, as Paul says in Ephesians 6:14, “Having done all, to stand. Stand therefore“. Let’s look at some of the ways that patience can be used, according to the Bible. Luke chapter 8 is the parable of the sower and verse 15 says of the seed that fell on good ground, “These are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience“. Fruit does not just appear over night in the natural realm, it takes patience to wait for it to come forth, and it is just the same in the spiritual realm. Hebrews 6:12 tells us that having faith to receive the promises of God is not enough, it also takes patience. It says we should be followers (or imitators) of those, “who through faith and patience inherit the promises“. If you are expecting to believe for something and have it happen instantly every time, then you are going to be disappointed and discouraged. It can happen sometimes of course, but that is not normally the way. Usually you have to stand firm in your faith and that is where patience comes in, to under-gird your faith. Hebrews 10:36 says something similar, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise“. Hebrews 12:1 then tells us, “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“.
Life is never going to be a walk in the park until Jesus has returned – there’s a devil out there, in case you didn’t know! But patience can ensure that you walk victorious, with the devil where he belongs – under your feet. I will end this post by quoting again James 1:4, which should be enough to convince you that patience is worth pursing. “But let patience have it’s perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, LACKING NOTHING” (New King James Version).
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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