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The big picture: We are always, and I mean always, in such a hurry these days. Our culture is on hyperdrive. We want it and we want it now. My dad has always said “Patience is a virtue.” And it is.

Our dads (and our heavenly Dad) are right. What is the promise to us. Waiting patiently for the Lord means that He is more inclined to listen to us. And God will hear our cry. He really will.

We can count on that. It is a solid promise from God. God’s goal for us is to be patient. God is God. He will incline to us at the right time and hear us.

God will not abandon us at all. He loves us. So here you go. Three simple steps. God is in a good mood.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me
and heard my cry.
| Psalm 40:1

Who is my model for patience? God is patient, and His Spirit produces the fruit of patience in me. When I am patient, I leave room for God to work in my heart and in my relationships.

I lay down my schedule and trust in God’s. I thank the Master for what and whom He’s brought into my life. I let God be God.

  • Romans 2:4  — Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
  • Exodus 34:6–7  — Then the Master passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Master, the Master God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

James urges believers to be patient and not to complain as we wait for Jesus to return. James holds up the prophets as models of patience. The Old Testament prophets ceaselessly spoke God’s Word to unheeding and abusive audiences. Jeremiah was thrown into a cistern, Elijah was so worn out from his fight with Jezebel that he wanted to die, and Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den—by a king who was his friend. While God delayed judgment, Noah prophesied of the coming destruction, and in 120 years did not have a single convert.

  • 2 Peter 3:9  — The Master is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
  • Nehemiah 9:30  — “However, You bore with them for many years, And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets, Yet they would not give ear. Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
  • 1 Peter 3:20  — who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.

There are two Greek words translated as “patience” in the New Testament. Hupomonē means “a remaining under,” as when one bears up under a burden. It refers to steadfastness in difficult circumstances. Makrothumia, which is used in Galatians 5:22, is a compound formed by makros (“long”) and thumos (“passion” or “temper”). “Patience” in Galatians 5:22 literally means “long temper,” in the sense of “the ability to hold one’s temper for a long time.”

The KJV translates it “longsuffering.” A patient person is able to endure much pain and suffering without complaining. A patient person is slow to anger as he waits for God to provide comfort and punish wrongdoing. Since it is a fruit of the Spirit, I can only possess makrothumia through the power and work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

  • Romans 9:22  — What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
  • Isaiah 48:9  — “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, In order not to cut you off.
  • Isaiah 65:2  — “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,

As the Spirit produces patience in me, He is making me more like Jesus. Second Thessalonians 3:5 speaks of the “patience of the Messiah” (ASV). The Messiah is even now patiently awaiting the completion of the Father’s plan: after Jesus

“had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool” (Hebrews 10:12-13).

I should be patient, even as He is patient.

  • Romans 3:25  — whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
  • Joel 2:13  — And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Master your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil.
  • Jonah 4:2  — He prayed to the Master and said, “Please Master, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.
  • Nahum 1:3  — The Master is slow to anger and great in power, And the Master will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.
  • Acts 17:30  — “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.