There is an old saying that patience is a virtue, which could mean, "The ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset is a valuable quality in a person." How many times do we lose patience when we are stuck in traffic or in a long line at Wal-Mart? Do you lose patience with your kids when they disobey which was really you trying to be controlling?
Like it or not, we all have issues with patience in various ways. The Bible says the work of the Spirit produces patience in the life of a believer. Here is the question: Does patience in verse mean being patient with one another? There are some places in the Bible that does mention being patient with others. In 1 Thessalonians 5:14, as Paul was giving final instructions to the church, he wrote, "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all." Paul told Timothy to "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2).
We are also called to be patient with one another when it comes to maintain unity within the body:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3).
This is one way that the work of the Spirit is produced in the life of the believer. However, as Stanley Gale wrote, "Patience is not merely a social grace. It is a driving force for us growing in the character of the Vine," which he is referring to Jesus's teaching in John 15 as being the Vine. The New King James Version translations patience as "longsuffering." At first I had no idea what that meant until I did some studying of this passage.
Tim Keller defines patience as "an ability to face trouble without blowing up or hitting out. Its opposite is resentment toward God and others, and its counterfeits are cynicism or lack of care." The patience that is the fruit of the Spirit is not just a patience with one another, but patience with God's timetable. There are a few places in the Bible that tell us to wait for the Lord:
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! (Psalm 31:24)
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (Psalm 37:1)
God promises to take care of us in suffering yet we are to wait for Him. That is hard because we see the greener grass with other people and situations. There are eight references in the Old Testament that God is slow to anger meaning His is patient with us even we are not patient with Him. You may be in the midst of suffering right now and you feel God is not listening. God is listening, He is working in you to be conformed to the image of Jesus. As hard as you suffering is, God is working patience in you.