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Continue to Be Patient

Continue to Be Patient

“Clothe yourselves with . . . patience.”​—COL. 3:12.

SONG 114 “Exercise Patience”


1. Why do you appreciate people who are patient?

 WE ALL appreciate people who are patient. Why is that the case? We respect those who can wait for something without getting frustrated. We appreciate that others are patient with us when we make mistakes. And we are grateful that our Bible teacher was patient with us as we struggled to learn, accept, or apply a Bible teaching. Above all, how thankful we are that Jehovah God is patient with us!​—Rom. 2:4.

2. In what situations may we find it difficult to be patient?

2 Although we value patience in others, we ourselves may not always find it easy to be patient. For example, we may struggle to stay calm when stuck in traffic, especially if we are running late. We may lose our temper when others irritate us. And, at times, we could find it hard to keep waiting for Jehovah’s promised new world. Would you like to be more patient? In this article, we will consider what it means to be patient and why it is so important. We will also review what can help us to develop more patience.


3. How does a patient person react when provoked?

3 Consider four ways we can demonstrate patience. First, a patient person is slow to anger. He tries to stay calm and to hold back from retaliating when provoked or under stress. The phrase “slow to anger” first appears in the Bible when Jehovah is described as “a God merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love and truth.”​—Ex. 34:6.

4. How does a patient person react when he has to wait?

4 Second, a patient person can wait calmly. If something takes longer than expected, such a person tries to avoid becoming restless or irritable. (Matt. 18:26, 27) There are many situations in which we need to wait calmly. For example, we need to listen patiently while someone is speaking, without interrupting. (Job 36:2) We may also need patience when helping a student to understand a Bible teaching or to overcome a bad habit.

5. What is another way to demonstrate patience?

5 Third, a patient person is not rash. Granted, some situations require quick action. However, when a patient person has an important task to accomplish, he does not rush into it; nor does he rush through it. Rather, he sets aside a reasonable amount of time to plan what he will do. Then he gives the task the time that it requires.

6. How does a patient person react when facing trials or adversity?

6 Fourth, a patient person strives to bear trials without complaining. In this sense, patience is closely related to endurance. Of course, it is not wrong to open up to a close friend and express how we feel about a trial. However, a patient person will do his best to continue enduring while maintaining a positive attitude. (Col. 1:11) As Christians, we need to show all these facets of patience. Why? Let us consider a few reasons.


Just as a farmer waits patiently, trusting that he will reap a crop in time, we wait patiently, confident that Jehovah will fulfill all his promises in his due time (See paragraph 7)

7. According to James 5:7, 8, why is patience so important? (See also picture.)

7 Patience is essential for our salvation. Like faithful servants of the past, we need to wait patiently for God to fulfill his promises. (Heb. 6:11, 12) The Bible compares our situation to that of a farmer. (Read James 5:7, 8.) A farmer works hard to plant and water his crop, but he does not know exactly when it will grow. So the farmer waits patiently, trusting that he will reap a crop. Likewise, we stay busy in spiritual activities even though we “do not know on what day [our] Lord is coming.” (Matt. 24:42) We wait patiently, confident that in his due time, Jehovah will fulfill all that he has promised. If we were to become impatient, we might get tired of waiting and start drifting away from the truth. We could also begin to pursue things that might give us instant gratification. But if we are patient, we can endure to the end and be saved.​—Mic. 7:7; Matt. 24:13.

8. How does patience help us in our dealings with others? (Colossians 3:12, 13)

8 Patience helps us in our dealings with others. It helps us to listen attentively when others speak. (Jas. 1:19) Patience also promotes peace. It protects us from reacting too quickly and saying something unkind when we are under stress. And if we are patient, we will be slow to anger when someone hurts our feelings. Instead of retaliating, we will “continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely.”​—Read Colossians 3:12, 13.

9. How does patience help us when we need to make decisions? (Proverbs 21:5)

9 Patience can also help us to make better decisions. Instead of being hasty or impulsive, we will take the time to research and evaluate the options that we have. (Read Proverbs 21:5.) For example, if we are looking for work, we might be inclined to accept the first offer we receive, even if the job will interfere with our worship to Jehovah. However, if we are patient, we will take the time to consider such factors as the location, the hours, and the impact the job could have on our family and spiritual life. By being patient, we may avoid making a bad decision.


10. How can a Christian develop and maintain patience?

10 Pray for more patience. Patience is an aspect of the fruitage of the spirit. (Gal. 5:22, 23) So we can pray for holy spirit and ask Jehovah to help us cultivate its fruitage. If we face a situation that tests our patience, we “keep on asking” for holy spirit to help us be patient. (Luke 11:9, 13) We can also ask Jehovah to help us see matters from his point of view. Then after praying, we need to do our best to be patient each day. The more we pray for patience and strive to be patient, the more this quality will take root in our heart and become part of our personality.

11-12. How has Jehovah shown patience?

11 Meditate on Bible examples. The Bible contains many examples of people who were patient. By meditating on those accounts, we can learn ways to demonstrate patience. Before we consider some of these examples, let us look at the most outstanding example of patience​—Jehovah.

12 In the garden of Eden, Satan slandered Jehovah’s name and attacked His reputation as a fair and loving Ruler. Instead of immediately destroying the slanderer, Jehovah exercised patience and self-control, knowing that it would take time to prove that His rulership is best. And while waiting, he has endured reproach that has been brought on his name. Additionally, Jehovah has been waiting patiently so that more people can have the opportunity to obtain everlasting life. (2 Pet. 3:9, 15) As a result, millions of people have come to know him. If we focus on the benefits of Jehovah’s patience, we will likely find it easier to wait for his time to bring the end.

Patience will help us to be slow to anger when provoked (See paragraph 13)

13. How has Jesus perfectly imitated his Father’s patience? (See also picture.)

13 Jesus perfectly imitates his Father’s patience, and he demonstrated this quality while on earth. It must not always have been easy for him to show patience, especially toward the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees. (John 8:25-27) Yet, just like his Father, Jesus was slow to anger. He did not retaliate when he was insulted or provoked. (1 Pet. 2:23) Jesus patiently endured trials without complaining. No wonder the Bible tells us to “consider closely the one who has endured such hostile speech from sinners”! (Heb. 12:2, 3) With Jehovah’s help, we too can patiently endure any trials that come our way.

If we imitate the patience of Abraham, we can be sure that Jehovah will reward us now and even more so in His promised new world (See paragraph 14)

14. What can we learn from Abraham’s patience? (Hebrews 6:15) (See also picture.)

14 What if our expectations about the end have not yet been fulfilled? Maybe we expected the end to come long ago. We may fear that we will not live long enough to see it. What can help us to continue to wait patiently? Consider Abraham’s example. When Abraham was a childless 75-year-old man, Jehovah promised him: “I will make you a great nation.” (Gen. 12:1-4) Did Abraham see that promise fulfilled? Not completely. After crossing the Euphrates River and waiting 25 years, Abraham did see the miraculous birth of his son Isaac, and after another 60 years, his grandsons Esau and Jacob were born. (Read Hebrews 6:15.) But Abraham never saw his descendants become a great nation and inherit the Promised Land. However, that faithful man did enjoy a close friendship with his Creator. (Jas. 2:23) And when Abraham is resurrected, how thrilled he will be to learn that his faith and patience resulted in blessings for all nations! (Gen. 22:18) What is the lesson? We personally may not see all of Jehovah’s promises fulfilled right away. However, if we are patient like Abraham, we can be sure that Jehovah will reward us now and even more so in His promised new world.​—Mark 10:29, 30.

15. What could we consider during our personal study?

15 The Bible contains many other examples of people who were patient. (Jas. 5:10) Why not make it a study project to examine such examples? b For instance, although David was anointed at an early age to be the future king of Israel, he had to wait many years before he received the kingship. Simeon and Anna worshipped Jehovah faithfully while they waited for the promised Messiah. (Luke 2:25, 36-38) As you study such accounts, look for the answers to the following questions: What may have helped this person to show patience? How did he benefit by being patient? How can I imitate him? You might also benefit by learning about those who did not show patience. (1 Sam. 13:8-14) You might ask: ‘What may have contributed to their lack of patience? What consequences did they face?’

16. What are some benefits of being patient?

16 Consider the benefits of being patient. When we are patient, we are happier and calmer. Thus, patience can improve our mental and physical health. When we are patient with others, we enjoy better relationships with them. Our congregation becomes more united. If someone provokes us, our being slow to anger can prevent the situation from getting worse. (Ps. 37:8, ftn.; Prov. 14:29) But most of all, when we are patient, we imitate our heavenly Father and draw even closer to him.

17. What should we be determined to do?

17 What an appealing and beneficial quality patience is! While we may not always find it easy to be patient, with Jehovah’s help, we can continue to cultivate this quality. And as we patiently wait for the new world, we can be confident that “the eye of Jehovah watches over those fearing him, those waiting for his loyal love.” (Ps. 33:18) May we all be determined to continue clothing ourselves with patience.

SONG 41 Please Hear My Prayer

a In Satan’s world, patience is in short supply. However, the Bible tells us to clothe ourselves with patience. This article will show us why this quality is so important and how we can become more patient.

b To find Bible accounts about patience, you could consult the heading “Patience” in the Watch Tower Publications Index.