Living the Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

The word is Patience, but in some Bibles, it’s translated Longsuffering.

That’s interesting. I’m not sure if I can say I suffer long. While I’m certainly more patient than before I surrendered to Christ, I still experience time when I want relief immediately. Anyone with me on that?

But God says that Patience is a Fruit of the Spirit. And when the Spirit fills us, we will develop Patience. No, we don’t have Patience dropped from Heaven in one fell swoop. It’s up to us to behave in a Patient manner; then the action will soon become as natural as breathing. We bloom, then reap a harvest of Fruit. We needn’t “pray for patience.” The Holy Spirit begins to grow us in virtue and character when we decide to fully devote ourselves to Jesus.

A friend of mine shared her experience with praying for patience. “I prayed for patience,” she said. “But God didn’t send me patience all wrapped up in a nice gift box. I got pregnant.”

We learn to love by exercising Love. We have Joy and Peace when we exercise Faith. God says, “Come now, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). Listening to the Holy Spirit who speaks Love, Joy, Peace and Patience into our lives means hearing the logic in exercising those things. Surely God has emotions and He gives us emotions to help us in our times of need. But He also wants us to Think. Things just go better for everyone when we are Patient, not wanting our way or being unable to accept whatever is going on in the moment.

“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way” (Psalm 37:7).

The wisdom from Heaven is mature, for it is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17). Doesn’t that sound like someone who is Patient? I confess that sometimes it doesn’t sound like me at all.

Patience is associated with maturity. We put away the things of a child. Simply put, our lives can be so much better when we see how Patience smooths the way.

How has God spoken to you about Patience? How has he given you opportunities to exercise Patience?

Be a blessing to someone today.

 

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The Fruit of the Spirit

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

“The fruit of the Spirit wasn’t intended to be a list of goals for us to produce–it is the Holy Spirit through us who produces fruit.” ~ Dan Kimble

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“Therefore, as God’s people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

The Patience of Job

When I was growing up, occasionally I’d hear my mother refer to someone as having “the patience of Job.” I went to Sunday school and then upstairs for ‘big church’ with her, but we didn’t learn about Job in Sunday school.

Our flannel graph stories revolved around stories that didn’t include Satan, for the most part. You know, Joseph and his coat; Noah in the ark; Moses with the burning bush; that little guy Zacchaeus; and the loaves and fish miracle.

Now that I know Job’s story, I still enjoy reading it even after years of study. The more I learn about patience and how God works, the more I learn not to pray for it. A friend once shared in a group which I belonged to that she had prayed for patience.

“God didn’t send me patience in a package tied up with a bow,” she said. “I got pregnant.”

That’s a funny line from my friend. But I don’t believe God was playing a joke on her. What I do believe is that God uses our circumstances – the ones he causes and the ones he allows – to help us grow in character and in virtue (among other reasons).

Job grew from his experiences of loss and from the aftermath. He also learned some things. I don’t know if it was patience he learned. But I do know he grew in his knowledge of God.

“The theme of (the book of) Job is not ‘Why do the righteous suffer?’ The theme of Job is ‘Do the righteous believe that God is worth suffering for?’” ~ Warren Weirsbe

“They (Job’s three friends) plead a poor cause well, while Job pleads a good cause poorly.” ~ John Calvin

 “Be silent about great things; let them grow inside you.” ~ Baron Friedrich von Hugel

“The book of Job is not strictly a pessimistic book. It does not despair of the universe, despite all its sorrows. What it does despair of is the adequacy of any one of man’s theories, or all of these theories united, to furnish a solution of its sorrows.” ~ George Matheson

“I had a million questions to ask God: but when I met Him, they all fled my mind, and it didn’t seem to matter.” ~ Christopher Morley (Job 23:3-4)

While we read the book of Job, we get to see what happened behind the scene. But Job had no knowledge of it. We can be assured that God works for us in unknown ways and what may look like a setback becomes the setup for a blessing if we trust God and remain faithful.

Why Patience Wins

Raise your hand if you often have a problem being patient.

(Come on. Hurry up! I’m waiting!)

There, I knew I was in good company.

Whenever I hear someone talking about patience (this includes me), they don’t usually mention that they weren’t patient. The story merely includes how long they had to wait. We usually mention how a person or a process was going too slowly.

Why do we never tell stories of when we made someone wait for us?

The rewards of being patient elude us when we’re “in the moment.” Most of us have the kind of life in which we need to always be on the move.

Just last week I was giving a friend of mine a ride home. Our fastest route would have taken us down a street where there are railroad tracks. Trains go by this intersection several times a day. On this day, at this particular time it was no exception. Did I take that route?

No. I turned right instead of left and went out of my way to avoid the tracks and waiting behind a long line of cars. Then I justified the action. I told my friend, “I figure if I have to burn gas I may as well be burning it in motion rather than sitting still.”

That was me. Always on the move. Lack of patience.Never give up

These are a few reasons why patience wins.

Hope is a by-product of patience. Hanging on to the idea that God’s will eventually plays out keeps us from worrying about the outcome. Hope does not disappoint us. (Romans 5:5)

Practicing patience takes the focus off ourselves. When we’re honest about our lack of patience, we often find our reasons are based on our own desires or needs. When we focus on others–whether we know their needs or not–it can help us to be patient, understanding and sympathetic.

Patience sets a good example to others. As much as we might ignore (or justify) our own lack of patience, others notice. We have no control over how others actually respond to us, but we do have control over whether we handle a situation with calmness or fretting.

Patience perfects character. Character is often revealed through a trial, be it great or small. But waiting patiently can also “have its perfect work” in our lives (James 1:4). The more we practice patience, the better we become at practicing patience. We find we can better endure the various trials we face.

Even if the so-called trial is as simple as waiting for a necessary train to pass by.