The "P" Word
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:12 (KJV)
The writer of Hebrews tells us that faith and patience working together cause us to inherit the promises of God. They work in partnership with one another. Furthermore, we find in James that the testing, or proving, of our faith actually produces patience.
Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. James 1:3-4 (Amplified Bible Classic Edition, AMPC)
The words translated as patience in these two passages are not the same, but they have similar meanings. In Hebrews, it means forbearance, fortitude, or longsuffering. It speaks of bearing up under something for a period of time. The meaning of patience in James is cheerful, hopeful endurance; constancy. It denotes longsuffering with a good attitude.
How does this faith-patience combination work? As we hear the Word, faith comes (Romans 10:17). Once we receive faith, we use it to believe God for His promises- for example, the healing of our bodies. When we decide to use faith to believe God for something, then our faith is tested or tried. How is it tried? There are number of ways it can be tested, but the most common way is through the passage of time. This type of testing is intended to see if you will continue to believe what God has said no matter how long it takes to manifest. If we continue to believe God and continue to stand on His Word, then the testing should bring out patience, or cheerful, hopeful endurance. Then we will steadfastly wait for the promise with a good attitude and it eventually manifests in our lives. At this point, we can say that we have obtained the promise through faith and patience (longsuffering and bearing up under something for a time) . And operating in this hopeful endurance has performed a work in us, maturing us and growing us up in Christ.
So, in a nutshell- first we use our faith. Our faith is then tested through the passage of time. When we operate in patience, we obtain the promise through faith. And we are matured in the process.
In essence, patience is what I call waiting well. We all have to wait- but are we waiting well? When we are believing God for something, we can tap into the fruit of the Spirit called patience. Patience enables us to wait well and ultimately get what we believe for. And, most importantly, we grow up in God.