I hate exercising.

I know what you’re thinking: “Dieter! How on earth can you hate exercise when you keep such an amazing figure!” But I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my ego: “Stop making stupid jokes.”

I remember seeing a commercial once starring a rich guy, and he had these wires connected to him that ran to from his biceps to another man’s biceps. The other man, a particularly muscular individual, was lifting 400lb barbells, grunting and sweating rivers. Every time he curled the barbell, the rich man’s biceps would flex instead, implying he was so rich he could afford a machine that made it possible for someone else to work out for him. All the results, none of the effort. And I remember thinking, “Man, I wish I could work out like that!”

That’s the way many of us see the development of patience. Patience is hard. We want to just inherently have the ability to be patient with people, but people are fickle. We want to develop patience like the guy in the commercial. We want the results with none of the effort.

But that’s not how it works. I titled this post “Building Patience the Annoying Way” because the annoying way is the only way. You see, patience is a muscle. It needs to be used in order to grow. When weight training, you lift weights until the muscles actually tear apart, and when they heal, they heal stronger. Patience works the same way. If you want to grow in patience, God is going to throw some super annoying people at you, and you are going to have your patience stretched. And chances are, your patience will break. And when it heals, it will be stronger.

And just like a nice protein shake helps your muscles heal even stronger, a spiritual cocktail of lifting those people and situation up in prayer will help your patience grow. I really cannot stress enough how important this really is. Ecclesiastes 7:8 tells us, “The end of something is better than the beginning. Patience is better than pride.” See, honestly, your patience is useless if you’re not being patient for the sake of the people who will be affected by your actions. If you want patience so you can say you have patience, you really need to work on your Christmas list. Ask for an iPhone, or an InstaPot. Those things are fun. Patience isn’t. If you want patience for the sake of growing your influence, for making yourself more Christ-like and modeling for others what you could never do on your own, then be prepared for the challenge. Prayer and submission to the Word of God will increase your patience tenfold, but the work of using patience is always required.

So don’t get discouraged because your patience is wearing thin. It happens. Take a breather and drink that spiritual protein shake. Your patience will grow. It’s how patience is designed to operate.

Dieter Stach is the Baptism Coach and Parking Coach at The Life Church Manassas. He is also the Small Groups Coordinator at The Gathering GMU. He loves connecting with people, teaching about Jesus, writing, and drinking 6 gallons of coffee a day. It’s not a problem, and he can quit anytime he wants to.