Introduction: Do you like to wait? Does your answer turn on
the nature of your wait? For example, my wife and I agree
that we would rather take the longer route to a destination
if the traffic is flowing freely as opposed to the shorter
route where we wait in a traffic jam. In both cases we wait
(we are delayed in our arrival), but the one type of wait is
preferable. Is this also true in the life of a Christian?
Or, is the Biblical teaching about patience a completely
different discussion? Is learning to wait about other
virtues, as opposed to learning how to make it painless?
Let’s see what the Bible teaches us about patience!

I. Patience is an Onion Virtue

A. Read Galatians 5:19-21. Why does the Bible call
these attitudes and activities “works of the
flesh?” (They don’t come from God. They come from
our selfish attitudes.)

B. Read Galatians 5:22-23. These are the “fruit of
the Spirit.” The way this is written in Galatians
seems to be a counter-point to the “works of the
flesh.” As you think about the works of the
flesh, what is the counter, the opposite, of
patience? (As we consider the list, it seems that
several result from a lack of patience: enmity,
strife, jealousy, anger, and envy. The connection
is that if we waited, we might not experience
these emotions.)

1. Does this teach us that patience is like an
onion, it has many different layers?

C. Read Galatians 5:24. Assume that we are saved by
faith alone, what is this telling us to do? (Read
Romans 6:6 and Romans 8:13. This seems to have two
parts. First, when we were baptized we joined
Jesus in His crucifixion. Our old self died. At
the same time in Romans 7:15 we find that the
struggle with sin still exists and so Romans 8:13
tells us to make a choice about how we will live.)

D. Read Galatians 5:25. What does the Holy Spirit
have to do with this? (We are told to “keep in
step” with the Holy Spirit. I think that means to
pay attention and do what the Spirit tells us to

1. Does this paying attention have something to
do with patience?

II. The Road to Patience

A. Read James 1:2-3. The ESV translates the Hebrew
word as “steadfastness” while other translations
translate it as “patience.” Strong’s suggests
“cheerful endurance.” Why would trials in life
“produce” cheerful endurance? (This is an
instruction to Christians. If we trust God, we
know that things are going to work out right.)

1. What kind of patience is this? (This is a
different layer of the onion: patience in
adverse circumstances, as opposed to patience
with a person that we are trying to teach.)

B. Read James 1:4-5. What is the “full effect” of
patience? (We grow in character. This suggests
that patience is the road to “lacking in

1. What does wisdom have to do with this?

C. Read 2 Peter 3:8-9. What do we learn about God’s
timing? (He has a different time gauge than we

1. Note what this says about God’s patience. What
might be a reason why we should patiently wait
on God? (His delay is for our benefit! We wait
on God and God waits on us.)

2. Connect this to what we previously discussed
about patience being the antidote to several
sinful attitudes. We now see that the purpose
of God’s patience towards us is also about our
sinful attitudes.

D. I noted above that Strong’s sees the attitude of
cheerfulness as a component part of patience. At
the same time, I read a commentary that suggested
that if you were enjoying the wait (much like my
introduction about taking a more pleasant route),
then this was not patience. Does the wait have to
be annoying to help you develop patience? (Look
again at James 1:2. He tells us that the road to
patience should be joyful. I think the goal is to
find joy in the wait.)

E. With the advent of cell phones I had the
possibility of doing all sorts of entertaining or
productive things while I waited. Are cell phones
the key to finding joy in waiting? (Read 1
Thessalonians 5:16-18. This is God’s pre-cell
phone advice. We can have joy while waiting by
praying and giving thanks to God.)

1. Have you ever tried that while you were
waiting in line?

III. The Right Picture of Patience

A. When my wife and I agree to go somewhere, I often
head immediately to the car, back it out of the
garage, roll down the window and relax as I look
around my yard and the neighborhood. Is this the
kind of patience that God is looking for in us?

B. Read Hebrews 6:11-12. This suggests that being
“sluggish” while we patiently wait is a problem.
Why would that be true? (The text says that we
should “imitate” those who are not sluggish while
waiting because they inherit the promises.)

1. How do we avoid being sluggish? (The picture
painted here is one of being “earnest,”
“hopeful,” and “faithful” while looking
forward to a reward. It is a picture of

a. These sound like attitudes. What,
specifically, should we be doing to avoid
being labeled as “sluggish?” (We turn to
that next.)

C. Read Luke 12:35-37. What are we supposed to do
while we are waiting?

D. Read Luke 12:42-43. What additional instruction do
we find here about our duties while waiting
patiently? (The manager is running the household.)

E. Read Luke 12:45-47. What should we refrain from
doing while waiting? (Harming fellow servants.)

F. These snapshots from Luke 12 seem to be about rich
rulers of a household. How would you apply this
teaching if you have no hired help in your
household? (I think this applies to our fellow
Christians. This is the household of God. We
should spend our time waiting doing good things to
help fellow believers.)

IV. David, a Picture of Patience?

A. Read 1 Samuel 26:1-2. Why was King Saul looking
for David? Did he want to give him his birthday
present? (1 Samuel 23:15 reveals that King Saul
wanted to capture and kill David. Saul had
previously made attempts on David’s life.)

B. Read 1 Samuel 26:3-4. Was David waiting patiently
for Saul to come? (No. He sent out spies to be
alerted to an approach by King Saul.)

C. Read 1 Samuel 26:5-6. Is this a picture of
patience? (Hardly. David quickly moves forward
with his plan.)

D. Read 1 Samuel 26:7-9. Is David waiting? If you
say, “yes,” what is David waiting for? (He is
waiting on God. It was clear that David would be
the next king (1 Samuel 23:17). David decided that
instead of making this transition happen, he would
wait until God moved.)

E. Read 1 Samuel 31:3-5. Note that the armor-bearer
had the same concerns as David. Read 1 Samuel
31:6-9 and 1 Samuel 31:12. Was David’s patience a
good thing?

1. If you say, “yes,” go back and read 1 Samuel
23:16-17. Had David killed Saul when he could,
his friend Jonathan would have lived and he
would have helped David. King Saul’s body
would not have been mutilated and placed on
display. Is David’s delay a display of
patience or a failure to boldly follow God’s

a. Would it have been murder if David killed
Saul that night?

F. Consider that after David became king, a young man
came to him and reported that he had killed King
Saul, at his request, to save him from the enemy.
This account differs from what we just read, and
is likely untrue. Read 2 Samuel 1:14-16 for
David’s reaction. Was a greater moral issue
involved when David refused to kill King Saul?

G. Friend, our study reveals an interesting side to
being patient that I cannot say I’ve considered
before. Being patient allows you to avoid engaging
in evil. In each situation we considered, patience
was set out as an alternative to evil actions.
Will you, through the power of the Holy Spirit,
seek patience?

V. Next week: Dying Like a Seed.

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.