Patience–A Virtue

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Temperance and patience form an important team of virtues.  In II Peter 1:5-8, Peter instructs us to add patience to temperance.  Without temperance, we could not be patient.  The word “add” indicates that we must grow spiritually in the development of godly character.  The pursuit of godly character is one aspect of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Patience–Passive Sense.
The word patience literally involves “an abiding under.” (Vine, III, pp. 167-168).  In the passive sense, patience is endurance.  In the face of hatred, Christians must endure.  Luke 21:19, “In your patience possess ye your souls.”  Jesus warned that His disciples would be hated of all men for His name’s sake.  Some trials are incident to service to Jesus Christ or the Gospel.  II Cor. 6:4-5, “But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings… (See also, II Cor. 12:12; II Tim. 3:10).  We must be patient when under chastisement (Heb. 12:7).  And, we must be patient in the face of undeserved affliction (I Peter 2:20).
Patience-Active Sense
Patience, in the active sense, means perseverance or persistence. Paul teaches us to continue in well-doing.  Rom. 2:7, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.”  It takes patience to bear fruit.  Luke 8:15, “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”  Patience is also needed to run the Christian race.  Heb. 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, 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.”
Patience–Some Opposites
Consider this list of opposites to patience:  idleness, contrariness, inattention, defiance, neglect, irritation, exasperation, rage, fretfulness, fickleness, ire, temper, petulance, displeasure, negligence, disobedience, resistance, wrath, remissness, indignation, indolence, recalcitrance, fury, pettishness, offense, sloth, insubordination, peevishness, impatience, willfulness, inconstancy, resentment, intractability, vexation, animosity, changeableness, and passion.  A lack of patience produces a whole host of undesirable attitudes and behaviors.
Patience and Temperance
Temperance is self-control or will-power exercised to restrain the passions and develop the spiritual habits of mind and heart that will keep us from sin and promote righteousness.  Patience is the use of will-power to either endure hardships and trials or persevere in well-doing (righteousness).  Temperance and patience are a team that work together to help us live a life that is pleasing to God.  They are intricately involved in the mastery of self.  These may be two virtues that are lacking the most in the character of God’s people.

With All Perseverance

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Perseverance is a part of the Christian character that helps secure the victory over Satan.  After giving the specific elements of the Christian armor, Paul writes, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18).  Paul adds prayer and perseverance to the list of elements that must equip the Christian soldier in the fight against sin.
What is Perseverance?  Perseverance denotes, “to continue steadfastly in a thing and give unremitting care to it.”  The word literally means, “be strong towards.” It is intensive in form.  The word assumes that a trial or challenge is in view.  The challenge is formidable and demanding.  To persevere is to stand steadfastly in the face of the challenge, no matter what it is or how intense it might be.
Sources of Strength.
You cannot win over Satan using merely your own strength, but you must bring something to the fight.  Jesus Christ secures the victory for us, but we must believe and obey Him.  We must be in Christ and He must be in us.  If we fail to be one with Christ or if we abandon our position in Christ we will fail.  Spiritual union with Christ is indispensable to personal victory over sin and Satan.  Paul also adds something else:  the prayers of the saints.  Three sources of strength emerge:  (1) our own grit; (2) the Lord Jesus Christ; and (3) fellow Christians.
Aspects of Perseverance.
Consider the following aspects of perseverance:
1.  Endurance over Time (Keep Going!).  Consider the example of  Moses during the Wilderness Wanderings (40 years).  Moses dealt with all sorts of hardships:  the sin of the people at Sinai, the murmuring of God’s people for food and water, challenges to his leadership from Aaron and Miriam (within his own family) and from Korah, Dathan and Abiram (from without his own family), enemies from outside of Israel threatened, and nations such as Edom would not cooperate or help when needed.  Through it all, Moses kept going!  He persevered.
2.  A strong and positive will (keep positive).  A perfect example of the spirit needed is given by the apostle Paul.  Paul never complained even thought he faced many trials (II Cor. 11:21-28).  Paul kept a positive attitude in the face of many challenges.  He stated, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
3.  Focus on the mission (keep focused).  Even though the apostle Paul encountered many difficult situations, he never quit.  He states, “Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto these things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
4.  Never journey alone (keep God close).  David is a good example of this trait.  David believed that the LORD was his shepherd and would lead him in the paths of righteousness.  When you walk with God, you never walk alone!
5.  Stay committed (keep faith).  Jesus is our perfect example for this trait.  When Jesus faced the trial of the cross, he “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (I Pet. 2:23).  Jesus faced death with unwavering faith in God.  That’s perseverance.
6.  Don’t lose your passion (keep loving).  While Jesus’ own disciples forsook Him, His love for them would not permit Him to forsake them.  He loved them unto the end (John 13:1).  Love endureth all things!  That’s perseverance.
Hardships are inevitable.  Perseverance will be needed to triumph over them.