Q: If I had to make a list of my faults, the first thing on the list would have to be “impatience.” I wish I was a more patient person, but I’m afraid it just isn’t in me to be that way. Does the Bible say anything about this?
A: Yes, the Bible certainly talks about impatience and the bad things it can bring into our lives—just as it talks about patience and its benefits. The Bible says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly” (Proverbs 14:29).
Why is impatience harmful? First of all, it harms us—physically, emotionally and spiritually. But it also harms our relationship with others. Impatience easily turns into anger or even violence, and these are the opposite of God’s plan for us. The Bible says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Have you ever asked yourself when you’re most likely to become impatient? It’s probably when something happens that delays you or changes your plans, and over which you have no control. But if you can’t do anything about it, why get upset? I know that’s easier said than done, but simply realizing that you can’t change the situation may help you relax and accept it. The Bible says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience” (Proverbs 19:11).
The key, however, is to realize that patience—true, lasting patience—isn’t something we can develop on our own. Instead, it’s a gift from God, given to us by the Holy Spirit. Have you ever confessed your impatient spirit to God, and asked Him to make you a more patient person? He will, as you yield your life and your emotions to Christ, and then seek to become more like Him.
Read more on this topic:
Ruth Bell Graham had a few things to say about patience…and persistence.
Billy Graham talks about the fruits of the Spirit.