Some Christians say that you should never pray for patience. But it is un-Biblical to say things like that. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Therefore, patience is a “virtue”–it is a power from the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for non-Christians to have true patience, because according to Scripture, it is a gift or evidence of God’s Spirit in a Christian’s heart. This virtue of patience, comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit in the hearts of true Christians, who believe in Jesus and try to live by His Word (Rom. 5:5). It gives emotional comfort, energy, and endurance to the Christian’s will power. It helps him to endure through periods of suffering, trial, and tribulation.
There is a divine element to patience–it comes from the energizing and comforting presence of God within the bosom. But there is also a human element to patience–it comes from human will power (but is always assisted by the divine graces of God’s presence). Patience is manifested through a Christian in the following way. First, a trial or tribulation is sent his way. This involves pain, suffering, and every bad situation and circumstance that you can possibly imagine. The “trial” or “test” actually comes by the allowance of God, the oppression of demons, and the daily experiences of people. This may involve sickness, death, poverty, loss of social status, disintegration of the family, etc–as in the case of Job, who is called a patient man (Jas. 5:11). Perseverance is another name for patience (or another side of patience); it describes the time element in the patience-producing experience. A patient man is “long-suffering”–he suffers through trials and tribulations for a long time (often months or years). But he never loses his faith in or commitment to Jesus. He fears God’s judgment of Hell and loves God’s presence too much to renounce his faith.
There is definitely a spiritual warfare element to patience. The primary purpose of trials and tribulations is to prove to God, angels, demons (especially), and men–that you truly are a Christian. And that your motives in living for God are pure, not corrupt or selfish. A trial is a “test” of your faithfulness, commitment, and devotion to Jesus. It is also a test of your belief in God’s existence. But more than anything, a trial is sent to a Christian to prove to the world that his faith is sincere (1 Pet. 1:6-7). No matter how bad things may get–nothing can destroy the man’s faith, or his commitment to God and His Word. His faith may be severely shaken, but not destroyed. Or, if he does lose his faith for a short time, he repents, and comes back to faith in God soon enough. This is the character of the patient Christian who has passed the “test” of his trial. In the midst of all this, he has learned to “wait upon the Lord” in order to “renew his strength” (Isa. 40:31).
Like Job, it is sometimes the case that the Lord blesses the latter part of these Christians’ lives more than the first (Job 42:12). Thus, the Lord trains them to patiently wait for their blessings. When they come, the blessings may be in the form of miraculous gifts or physical possessions. Dreams, visions, God’s presence, God’s voice, health, wealth, wisdom, houses, cars, and good friends! But they all come in God’s good time. These things come after the test has been finished in the spirit world, and God has put an official stop to the demonic activity, which has been producing the trials and tribulations all along.
Just like military warfare, all battles must come to an end. And some of the soldiers come out as war heroes. God wants war heroes in the army of the Lord. He wants to give us medals of honor–holy virtues and miraculous gifts. But these will not come without some battle scars. Christians must do battle with the devil, and resist him in Jesus’ Name!