There are two meanings of the word patience used in the Scriptures. One meaning pertains to circumstances. The other meaning pertains to people. This lesson discusses the two meanings of patience.
Patience Pertaining to Circumstances
"But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience." Luke 8:15
The word patience used in Luke 8:15 is from the word hupomone, and means to remain under. As used in this scripture, it means to bear up under difficult circumstances. It also means to resist weariness or defeat. This use of patience means endurance.
When it comes to bearing fruit as a Christian, everything is not easy. Sometimes, bearing fruit involves enduring circumstance we do not like. In the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:5-15), persons who heard the Word of God with a good heart and remained faithful to the Word of God bore fruit by bearing up under difficult circumstances. If you can take it, you can make it. Others who heard the Word of God (wayside, rocks, thorns) did not remain faithful to the Word of God. Therefore they bore no fruit.
Endurance Produces Character
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed ; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:1-5 KJV1
Endurance produces character. The word patience used in Romans 5:3 (KJV1) is the same word used in Luke 8:15. It means endurance. The New King James Version translates that word as perseverance.
According to Merriam-Webster, the word perseverance means a continued effort to do something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. Such perseverance as mentioned in Romans 5:3, produces experience or approved character. The word experience comes from the work dokime and means approved character.
A Christian who exemplifies approved character is someone God can count on. As Christians, we count on God to fulfill his promises to us. Can God count on us to obey Him? Continuing to remain faithful to the Word of God despite difficulties or opposition is a demonstration of the type of approved character that bears fruit.
"Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:" Hebrews 10:35-36
Tribulation is a part of life. Our job as Christians is to remain faithful to God in difficult circumstances. We must hang in there and be patient. God will bless.
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Patience Pertaining to People
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
Sometimes people and not circumstances can be a source of frustration. It may be easier to put up with circumstances rather than people who get on your nerves. When that is the case, we need to exercise patience or longsuffering.
The word longsuffering comes from the work makrothumia. It means long temper. A person who exercises longsuffering has the ability to exercise revenge, but instead exercises restraint. To exercise longsuffering means to put up with people who are hard to bear. Demonstrate forbearance.
"having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever" 1 Peter 1:23
Longsuffering is a fruit of the spirit. That means it is a part of the grace we received when we got born again. We exercise longsuffering by the grace of God.
"rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer" Romans 12:12
"But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses...by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love" 2 Corinthians 6:4,6