Two Forms of Patience: Human and Spiritual

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Two forms of patience reside in the believer–human and spiritual. The spiritual patience residing in every believer is the power of the God Himself! If that is so, then as long as you are in right relationship with God, the spirit of patience will control you. The question is not whether or not patience is available, but will you experience the patience that resides in you.

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  1 Thessalonians 5:14

The focus in this passage is to be patient with all–not most. Do you need to learn more patience than you are currently experiencing? Most of us would say yes but we do not want to go through the process required to learn patience.

Spiritual Attributes

Spiritual attributes described in Scripture, such as peace or patience, are different from how the world views the same attribute. While help may be gained from looking at both views, the Scripture has the supreme perspective. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” The same is true of the rest of the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus said, in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” The fruit of the Spirit of Christ living in a believer is the One who teaches us the difference between what the world says, and what God says.

The world offers help for learning patience but it is simply different from what Christ offers. Here are a few thoughts on patience from a world-view.

1. Chinese proverb: “One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.”

2. “Some people are kind, polite, patient, and sweet spirited until you try to sit in their pews.”

3. Margaret Thatcher said, “I am extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end.”

4. “Oh Lord, give me patience and give it to me now!”

5. “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

Two Forms of Patience

Patience comes in two forms: human and spiritual. If we walk in the Spirit we will have the patience of Christ living in and through us. Patience can also be expressed by the power of your own will and strength. You can decide to be calm in a given situation even though it is difficult to do. You can force yourself to conform to a situation that requires patience even though you are not patient. The human spirit can be quite determined. Human acting ability can be so convincing that discovery of what it means to live by Christ’s power can be lost.

But, it is also true that you may act and look like a patient person on the outside and be in utter turmoil on the inside. Some people, cannot hide their impatience even if they tried. You can discern most people’s body language and facial expressions to identify whether they are patient or impatient.

Dangerous results happen when using acting abilities in order to appear patient. If you act patient long enough, you will begin to believe that you are a patient person. Instead of relying on God’s Spirit of patience, you settle for the lesser quality of acting. Do this long enough and you become blind to your blindness. Training yourself to act patiently may be good, but it is not as great as walking in the Spirit of patience. The Spirit helps you to be a patient person, not act like a patient person.

Self restraint is good, especially if you are contemplating murder! But the real power of patience is the person of Jesus Christ living in a believer. Living in a born again believer is the most patient person I know–the person of Christ. He places His Spirit in the believer and gives him/her the ability to be patient in all the appropriate situations.

Imagine, His power left to live in us–incredible!

**Adapted from “The Christian Life: A Human Impossibility” Copyright © 2012 Kerry L. Skinner