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How Do I Develop the Christlike Attribute of Patience?
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Area Leadership Message

How Do I Develop the Christlike Attribute of Patience?

Developing Christlike attributes every day during this mortal life will draw me closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

What is patience?

In the guide to missionary service, Preach my Gospel, patience is defined as “the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. . . . Patience is related to hope and faith—you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled.”1

Dictionaries define patience as bearing pain or sorrow calmly or without complaint; not being hasty or impetuous; being steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.

The scriptures teach us about patience

In the Book of Mormon, we can find many teachings for our modern day that will help us learn how to develop patience. An example is; “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy”2. As we develop the Christlike attribute of patience, we may have genuine joy and happiness in this mortal life.

When I was a recent convert, I read in the Book of Mormon one of the scriptures that helped me to understand why opposition is essential for our spiritual growth. It clearly teaches us why patience is so important to develop. It was set forth by Nephi: “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must need remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility”3.

“And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away”4.

In the Bible, in the New Testament, we find the teachings of the Apostle Paul; “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

“And patience, experience; and experience, hope.”5

Please remember that this Apostle suffered many afflictions while preaching the gospel in Rome, but he never gave up. He developed the Christlike attribute of patience. He died as a martyr, a loyal disciple of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration, suffered many afflictions as well. It is known that Joseph, while in this mortal life, developed Christlike attributes, especially the attribute of patience. He suffered imprisonments, mobbing, and anguish of betrayal by disloyal, unfaithful associates, but he always helped everyone with love and patience, even those that betrayed him. He was a good example of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Modern Apostles teachings on patience

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008), of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stated that “We should learn to be patient with ourselves. Recognizing our strengths and our weaknesses, we should strive to use good judgment in all of our choices and decisions, make good use of every opportunity, and do our best in every task we undertake. We should not be unduly discouraged nor in despair at any time when we are doing the best we can. Rather, we should be satisfied with our progress even though it may come slowly sometimes. . . .

“Finally, a word about patience with our Heavenly Father and his plan of eternal progression. How incredibly foolish to be impatient with him, the Father of our spirits, who knows everything and whose work and glory, through his Son, Jesus Christ, is ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39).”6

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004), of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father. Actually, when we are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than his. Either way we are questioning the reality of God’s omniscience.”7

I love one of the quotes of our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson. He stated; “Be patient with yourself. Perfection comes not in this life, but in the next life. Don’t demand things that are unreasonable. But demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord help you through that, He will make the difference.”8

I learned from this quote from our prophet that as a disciple of Jesus Christ, following His teachings, I must do my best. However, in God’s plan of salvation, He knew that we would not reach perfection in this life. For that reason, He created a perfect plan of happiness. What a blessing to know that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He would provide us many opportunities to return to Him!

Learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic and patience

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we all had to adjust. It was not an easy task, but necessary to avoid getting and transmitting the virus. We have only had close contact with our family living in our homes. The pandemic has changed our daily routines. The family members and friends that used to visit our homes can no longer do so to follow COVID-19 precautions. One of the lessons and testimony that I learned during this pandemic is that our prophet receives revelation from God for the benefit of all of us, His children. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets.”9

A couple of years before the pandemic, President Russell M. Nelson received revelation and provided instructions on the importance of a home-centered Church. The Church programs such as Come Follow Me and other programs are vital instruments for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to see how the Lord prepared His Church across the globe so families could worship at home on Sunday during to the pandemic.

As of today, with careful COVID-19 precautions, the reopening of the Church has been a success so far. Also, the Lord provided us with the technology for the last days of this dispensation to help us continue preparing our families and ourselves for the Second Coming of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. That tool was necessary to connect us with our Church leaders and our families. Listening to the message of hope and the prayer offered by our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson has helped us during these difficult times. I have learned how to be patient during this pandemic by listening to our prophet and by studying the scriptures.

The perfect example of patience

Jesus Christ is the perfect and ultimate example of patience. During His mortal ministry, He suffered many afflictions but never complained. Instead, He knew of His divine mission as the Redeemer and Savior. He was patient with everyone, including His disciples and those who opposed Him. His teachings were full of love and compassion. One of the examples of patience recorded in the scriptures was while He was in the middle of suffering and sacrifice; “And He went a little further, and fell on His face, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”10

The word nevertheless has a powerful teaching about the Savior’s willingness to accept His Father’s will and to endure in that specific moment of affliction. Even with deep study of this scripture, I will never be able to understand the pain that Jesus Christ suffered. Despite that, He remained patient and obedient at all times. He is my perfect example of patience. I must follow His teachings and example.

I know that I have to continue developing Christlike attributes, one of which is patience, to become more like Him. One of the purposes for me in this mortal life is to learn each of His attributes. I testify that Jesus Christ is our Master, Redeemer and Savior. I trust and love Him with all my heart. Our Heavenly Father loves each one of us. He loves me.

Notes

  1. Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service, “How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes: Patience” [2018], 126.

  2. 2 Nephi 2:25.

  3. 2 Nephi 2:11.

  4. 2 Nephi 2:13.

  5. Romans 5:3–4.

  6. Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Patience, a Key to Happiness,” Ensign, May 1987, 32.

  7. Neal A. Maxwell, “Patience,” Ensign, Oct. 1980, 28.

  8. Russell M. Nelson, “Men’s Hearts Shall Fail Them” [Latter-day Saints Channel video], churchofjesuschrist.org/inspiration.

  9. Amos 3:7.

  10. Matthew 26:39.