“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness” (2 Peter 1:5,6)
Temperance precedes patience. Would you be more patient, then you must be more temperate. We cannot simply will to be temperate. Temperance is a fruit of the Spirit; produced by a walk in the Spirit. Such a walk is only possible for those who are born again (i.e., those who live in the Spirit.)
If we are Christ’s, the Spirit of Christ lives in us. Because of the liberation that is ours in Christ and through our submission to His Spirit within us we are no longer abject slaves to passions that arise in our body or emotions that fill our soul. Instead of reflexively handing over our body to these passions and emotions when they surface we are now, through the Spirit, able to put to death the deeds of the body that we once automatically walked in. This is not mere self-rule through our own will-power, this is the fruit of Christ’s work, the presence of His Spirit within us, and our worship of God.
Where temperance is practiced within, patience will be seen without. Where angry words and actions once flowed there will be a holding of our peace. Where lust once drove us to shameful deeds there will be dignity befitting a saint. Without temperance we are as a city whose walls are broken down. (Prov. 25:28) Without temperance how quickly and easily are we overrun and conquered by sin! To win the battle we need more than a will to win. We must first be established in the victory that Christ won on the cross, and then we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. In the end though it is we who must make the decision to worship God with more than just words. As those who are alive from the dead, we must yield ourselves to that which is pleasing to God, instead of what might temporarily please us.