Together in Christ: 'Learning to Be Patient' — Proverbs 16:32

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
— Proverbs 16:32 NLT

Key Thought

One of my mom's favorite expressions was, "Lord, give me patience, and please give it to me right now!" Truth be told, she was much more patient than I am. I am a work in progress when it comes to patience, so this verse speaks directly to my heart and behaviors!

Patience requires the work of the Holy Spirit combined with our intentional hard work [1] as Jesus' disciples. We do not "naturally have" patience. Our impatience is part of the work of our flesh, our sinful nature, at war with the call of the Holy Spirit to develop Spirit-led fruit [2] in our lives.

As in all things, Jesus is our great example of patience. The Lord patiently worked with his "loose lugnut" [3] disciples for more than three years. He patiently fashioned them through His ministry and prepared them for the Holy Spirit to empower them to change the world. [4] As Christ Jesus lived out His ministry, our Lord was always acting on God's timing. He did not rush His ministry, patiently waiting for His hour to come. [5]

As disciples of Jesus, patience is necessary for us to please God, especially when we desire to treat others properly. [6] Patience requires a great deal of self-control, the Spirit's coordinated partner with patience. We must invite the Holy Spirit to fill us, shape us, lead us, and grow us in patience and self-control. As we mature, the Scriptures urge us to be patient and self-controlled, reminding us of the great truth in today's proverb:

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
[1] Romans 5:1-4, 15:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:4.
[2] Galatians 5:13-26.
[3] This is a "cornbread English" term for the apostles who were often noisy, dangerous, messes until they journeyed through Jesus' ministry, death, burial, resurrection, and pouring out the Spirit .
[4] "These men who have turned the world upside down..." — Acts 17:6 ESV.
[5] Matthew 26:18; John 2:4, 7:6, 8; 12:27.
[6] Luke 21:19; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:15.

Today's Prayer

Father, I confess to You what you already know. Patience is a tough virtue for me to display consistently. As my self-control grows in other areas of my life, I am learning more patience with others, situations, and myself. I offer my life to You to develop Your character and the Spirit's holy fruit in my life so that I can be a blessing to others through my patience with them and encouragement of them. I pray this in Jesus' name, knowing that the Holy Spirit is already at work, maturing me in the virtues of patience and self-control. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Galatians 5:13-26
  • Ephesians 4:1-6; Colossians 3:12-15


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Illustration of Proverbs 16:32 NLT — Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.