“Just be patient.”
If you’re like most believers, you probably cringe when you hear the word “patience.” To most Christians, being patient means gritting your teeth and hanging on by your toenails in hopes things will eventually get better. We think it means, “hang on until the bitter end or until Jesus comes back, whichever comes first.”
If you’ve been reluctant to ask God for patience, I’ve got good news for you today. That’s not what the Bible means when it talks about being patient. Bible patience is something very different. In fact, I’m reluctant to even use the term patience because we’ve gotten such a skewed perception of what it means. I prefer to use the term consistency.
Patience = Consistency
When the Bible talks about patience, it speaks of so much more than simply “enduring,” although there certainly is an element of endurance implied. The Greek word usually translated “patience” in the New Testament is the word hupomone.
According to the Strong’s Greek Dictionary, one of the primary meanings of hupomone is “constancy.” In other words, consistency.
At this point you may be thinking, “What difference does it make? Is it really important to know the true meaning of biblical patience?”
The answer is, “Absolutely, positively yes!”
Patience is a vital element in the life of a victorious believer. In fact, the Word says that without patience you can’t inherit any of the promises of God. That’s right! To inherit any of God’s great and precious promises such as healing, protection or financial provision, you must have the element of patience working in your life. Read on and I’ll show you.
You Have Need of Patience
Look at Hebrews 10:35-36: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
There are several startling truths in these scriptures. First, did you know that it’s possible to do the will of God and still not inherit God’s promise? That revelation comes as a shock to a lot of believers.
Most of us were led to believe that as long as you were obedient, heaven would open up and pour out every promise in God’s Word. But according to this verse, another element must be present for those promises to be manifested in your life. That element is patience.
Other Christians think that “faith” is the only thing they need to bring these promises into reality. But according to Hebrews 6:12, they’re mistaken:
“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Did you catch that? It’s through faith and patience that we become inheritors of God’s promises. Kenneth Copeland calls faith and patience “the power twins.” That’s a good description. You can have all the faith in the world, but if you don’t also have the Bible-kind of patience, you’ll not experience the fullness of all Jesus died to give you. They work hand-in-hand.
We see the linkage between faith and patience affirmed again in 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.”
There are two things I want you to notice about this passage. First, that faith and patience are once again paired. But also notice that once patience has done “her perfect work,” you become “perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
The NIV translates that last phrase, “that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
This is just another way of describing true prosperity. When you are mature, complete and have everything you need, you’re prosperous in every sense of the word!
Think about it. Patience (or consistency), if allowed to perform its work in your life, can put you in a place in which you “want” for nothing. Everything is provided.