“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
Patience (or long-suffering, depending on your translation) is one of those characteristics I wish wasn’t in this list. It would be much more convenient for me if patience wasn’t an indicator of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.
I have learned that God doesn’t give us patience, but gives us the opportunity to practice patience. And, just like all of the other fruit of the Spirit, we can try to manufacture patience in our lives, but it just doesn’t look the same. When we are led by the Holy Spirit and surrendered to him, patience will naturally flow from us. I’m learning that the more that I look like Jesus, the more patient I will become.
“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15 (ESV)
“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise.” 2 Corinthians 6:3-8 (ESV)
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8 (ESV)
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV)
Throughout the Bible, we see God’s immense patience. He is patient with the nation of Israel that rejects God over and over again. He is slow to judgment because he doesn’t want anyone to perish. Jesus was patient with the disciples who struggled to shed their earthly mindset. And he is patient with us when we blow it again and again.
I’m finding that the more grace I receive from God and the more understanding I have of his patience toward me, the more I am able to be patient with others. I will never be perfectly patient, but through the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work, I am becoming more patient day by day. I’m grateful that I’m not responsible for producing the fruit on my own, I just have to allow him to work in my life. Thank God that he is patient with me when I am impatient with myself!
What opportunities have you been given to develop patience?
How have you seen the fruit of patience grow in your life?
To go Deeper: Read Characteristics of the Kingdom: Enduring, What’s the Rush?