Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
“Superadd to your . . . self-control patience.”
Our text states that we are to add to our self-control, patience. If there were no obstacles to the
Christian course, self-control would be sufficient, but the Christian is confronted by many
adverse conditions, so a more muscular grace, patience, is needed to reinforce our self-control.
Patience is the strength of character whereby through steadfastness amid obstacles which are
cheerfully endured, one presses on and reinforces self-control in well-doing.
Let us study this definition more carefully: (1) patience is strength of character; self-control and
patience are the two ingredients of power, and as an attribute of character, the Bible does not
mean physical force, but will power; the heart of the meaning of self-control is firmness, whereas
the heart of the meaning of patience is steadfastness; some synonyms are perseverance,
persistence, constancy and stick-to-it-iveness; (2) the obstacles that are met are not to be met
with complaining and murmuring, but must be cheerfully endured; and (3) it presses on – keeps
right on doing the Lord’s will, and reinforces self-control in well-doing.
Let us illustrate the difference between self-control and patience by steam locomotives pulling a
long train of railroad cars. Where the road is level, one locomotive is sufficient to pull the train
along the track; likewise, where there are no difficulties to our course of well-doing, self-control
is sufficient to rule our minds, affections and graces in well-doing. But when a steep grade is
confronted, it needs the reinforcement of another locomotive to help it; and by the united
strength of both locomotives the steep grade is surmounted. Similarly, when obstacles to our
course of well-doing arise, patience is needed to reinforce self-control, so that by the united
strength of both of these, the pertinent course of well-doing is traversed successfully.
The opposite of patience is inconstancy, fickleness and changeableness. This can be shown in
one who starts out at doing something, then without proper reason gives it up; later he begins
something else, and when obstacles appear, he gives that up. His is an inconstant course.
The perversion of patience is unreasonable and unscriptural persistence. Perverted patience
injures all concerned, wrecks character and good works and continually violates principles.
Matthew 10: 22: “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” The Emphatic Diaglott more
properly renders the word: “He who patiently endures to the end, will be saved.” Endurance
alone would not be enough; for it must be an active working as well as a passive endurance that
enables us to overcome.
Hebrews 10: 36: “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye
might receive [inherit] the promise.” By doing “the will of God” the Apostle means to attain the
mark of perfect love – toward God, Christ, the brethren, the world and even our enemies. If after
reaching that mark, one is steadfast, not allowing any obstacle coming our way to turn us aside
from well-doing, we will most certainly “inherit the promise” of eternal life.
James 1: 2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [trials];
knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Let us notice what he says patience
will do, if permitted to be active: “But let patience have her perfect work.” Next, he indicates
what is accomplished by patience having done her perfect work – “that ye may be perfect and
entire” – whole, holy in mind and heart – “wanting” – lacking – “nothing,” having every quality
perfectly developed, not having anything absent which we ought to have.
Some examples of patience include: Job (James 5: 11), Paul (2 Timothy 3: 10), the Thessalonian
brethren (2 Thessalonians 1: 4) and John (Revelation 1: 9).
(1.) Patience reinforces self-control, so that the new will is so strong that it can withstand all the
attacks made on it by Satan.
(2.) It assists self-control to break down and destroy the evil characteristics and perversions of
our hearts and minds.
(3.) Patience resists all efforts to divert our attention from developing and doing good, and all
efforts to engage in evil.
(4.) It accomplishes such a crystallization of every good word and work as no pressure of
obstacles can break, thus fitting us for the wonderful Kingdom inheritance.
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