Have you ever found yourself fidgeting around, writhing with impatience when things didn’t go your way immediately? We all have at some point. Patience is a virtue, but impatience is human nature!

Most of us know in some vague sense that we need to be “better” and more patient, but did you know that patience is more than just some impractical virtue in the eyes of God? There are very practical reasons to cultivate patience in your life, and this is why the Bible shows us so many examples of God’s servants being patient in the face of adversity.

Why Patience is a Virtue

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God has His own timeline. He has His own perfect plan, and it may not always fall in line with what you personally wanted. Now, this doesn’t mean your agenda and God’s agenda are at war, however. Remember that God is inside you and you are part of His kingdom. The true path of your spirit and of God’s will can never be in conflict because they are the same.

Impatience is a Signal That You Have Fallen Out of Trust

When you feel impatience, this is actually an important signal: it means that you have fallen out of alignment with God’s will and are ignoring your true path. You are not submitting to God. You are resisting what he wants for you and favoring the cravings of the more superficial parts of yourself.

Usually, you can tell when you have grown impatient and have given into the more fleshly side of yourself because you start acting out of fear instead of trust in God. This is fine. We all go through this, and God has already forgiven you. It can have negative consequences in your life, though. If you ignore the signs that God wants you to wait or to travel a different path, and you impatiently forge ahead on your own power, you may be in for a rude awakening.

Patience Allows You to Access God’s Infinite Wisdom

There is only so much that you can do alone with your own energy. When you disconnect from God out of impatience, you lose the benefit of that infinite intelligence, that infinite power that He can provide for you. This is why patience is a virtue. Very often, you need to practice patience to be able to listen long enough to hear God’s instructions over your own selfish impulses.

What the Bible Says about Patience

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The Bible has a lot to say about patience. Patience is a virtue that some of the most important servants of God had to cultivate before they could live an authentic life aligned with His will.

Job’s Trials

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One of the most extreme examples of patience in the Bible is the story of Job. He lost every material possession in his life, and even his health, in a seemingly senseless array misfortune. He was starving and covered in boils, and his wife was encouraging him to give up his commitment to God, and yet he still praised God knowing that the true gifts he had been given were deeper than all of these superficialities.

He said it best himself in Job 1:21: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job was grateful for what God had given him and conscious that it could end at any moment. The story may sound harsh and extreme, but it is through trials like these that we can learn the ultimate benefit of patience: true freedom. When you are no longer attached to external, material things—even to the health of your own body—you have become free. You can praise the name of the Lord unconditionally and be fulfilled even through the pain.

Moses’ Mission

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Another great example of a patient servant of God was Moses. He was a reluctant leader and had to constantly deal with God’s chosen people making stupid mistakes. Moses even begged God to show him some mercy and just kill him already: “If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.” (Numbers 11:15)

However, Moses persevered and dutifully followed God’s instructions, even though he knew it was prophecy that after all of his struggles, he would die before reaching the Promised Land. Sometimes patience isn’t rewarded in an obvious, external way; patience is the reward itself. Patience is a virtue because it allows us to connect with God, which is a reward unequaled by anything else.

Jesus’ Sacrifice

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Centuries after Moses, one of the greatest acts of patience was the example set by the Son of God himself, Jesus. Even with very human emotions and some resistance towards meeting his fate (Matthew 26:39), he still concluded after asking God to spare him, “[N]ot as I will, but as you will.” With that, he was willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice because he trusted God.

Patience is a virtue because it allows us to meet our true calling. God put us on this planet with a specific intention in mind, and to stray from that path leads to suffering much more profound than any suffering that superficial self-denial can bring. The ultimate death is to be disconnected from God. Patience is a virtue that helps bring us into the moment again—which is exactly where God exists: in one eternal moment.

7 Ways to Practice Patience in Everyday Life

Of course, you may not be a prophet destined to lead a nation out of Egypt, so you may never be called to practice the degrees of patience required of Moses. Luckily, you don’t have to part the Red Sea to benefit from patience in life.

Patience is a virtue whether it comes in the form of a grand miracle or the practice of learning to forgive. Both are the same—they are ways to connect with God’s unconditional love.

Here are some practical things you could try in your daily life to connect with God and cultivate patience:

1. Find Something to Be Grateful for the Moment You Wake Up

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Oftentimes when we get up in the morning, the first thoughts that flood our minds have to do with duty and resistance. Maybe there are chores we don’t want to do or a job we don’t want to commute to. Underneath all of this, though, there is something to be grateful for: you’re alive! Through some miracle, you exist on this Earth. Isn’t it incredible how something exists instead of nothing, and you get to be a part of God’s creation?

Shifting your perspective like this can be helpful. It can allow you to be more patient with the little things because you realize that they pale in comparison to the whole of God’s kingdom.

2. Listen Carefully to Others

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We’re often too rushed in this day and age. We’re always running off to the next thing, unable to enjoy a moment, and so we’re often dismissive when people are desperately trying to communicate with us.

Next time someone talks to you—even if it’s boring—listen carefully. What are they trying to say to you, underneath the words? Oftentimes, the words aren’t that important. Look at the person’s intention. Are they sad and need someone to understand their pain? Are they happy and want to relive a triumph by bragging about it to you? Are they lonely and just need to connect with another human being?

As a child of God, humble yourself, put your agenda aside for a moment, and really listen to the people around you. Listen with your whole body. Watch their movements, their eye contact, their vibe, and try to understand their perspective without judging it.

3. Open Your Heart to Others

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Just as it’s easy to dismiss the needs of others, we often dismiss our own deep spiritual and emotional needs. This is when it becomes important to patiently allow others into our bubble. It may seem painful and the vulnerability may seem too raw sometimes, but God established a church specifically for this reason.

Allow others to help support you, and it’s much easier to be patient. When you’re around people on a similar path, when you have a bad day, you can lean on someone to help you remember that you must patiently honor God’s mission above all else.

4. Listen for Signals from God before You Act

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There is a selfish mechanism in nearly all human beings that tries to drown out the instructions that God is constantly sending us. It can be hard to hear this, but if you’re very intentional about it, some of His signals may start flowing into your mind.

God doesn’t always speak in words, but if you are connected to His presence, you will hear Him just the same. This can take a lot of patience. You may have to cut off all distractions and sit meditating in His presence in silence for a long time. It’s worth the wait, though. When you have clarity about what to do next with your life, following the path that God has willed is more fulfilling than anything else.

5. Forgive Yourself

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It’s easy to beat yourself up for being disobedient and selfish, but what good does that do? Does it help you move closer to alignment with God’s presence?

Remember that God forgave you already for all of your sins—past, present, and future. Dust yourself off and keep doing God’s work. Sometimes the selfish parts of you will have trouble keeping up with the parts of you that want to experience God’s presence all the time, and that’s okay.

6. Take the Time to Enjoy God’s Creation

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With such busy lives, it’s hard to get back down to the basics. We were put on this Earth to celebrate God’s creation, and yet we often feel the need to make excuses to take a break and “do nothing.”

Go out into the wilderness and notice the pureness of God’s creation. Let go of the man-made concept of time for a while and experience the eternity of God outside of human influence.

7. Pray for Patience Every Day

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Finally, as a daily practice, even just having the conscious intention to become more patient can help you slowly grow in that direction. Pray to God and ask Him for the strength to be patient, to honor His will, and to align yourself more with His presence.

When you are truly in His presence, there is no impatience. The impulses to grasp at external things starts to wane, and instead you see the simple truth: God’s creation is perfect as it is. There’s nothing you can add to it to make it better.

Conclusion

Patience is a virtue, but it may not come naturally. The more you learn to be patient, though, the easier it is to connect with God and live according to His will. As one of the more critical traits to cultivate to enter His presence and live a life with purpose, becoming more patient is a huge obstacle for many of us. The more we practice in little ways, though, the easier it gets!