Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:2; Various
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - Patience
Good evening and welcome again to our nightly Bible devotional. We have been talking about the slices of the spiritual fruit found in Galatians 5:22-23 which include of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As Christians, we are supposed to produce every aspect of this spiritual fruit and not just specialize in just one or two slices. We produce this fruit when we allow God’s Holy Spirit to work in us in our daily walk with the Lord. When we walk in step with the Spirit we produce desired results God has for us.
We’ve got three of the slices under our belt. We talked about love, joy, and peace. But tonight we are going to talk about patience. Patience is hard because we want what we want and we want it right now.
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. The Greek word used in Galatians 5:22 is μακροθυμία -makrothumia (mak-roth-oo-mee’-ah) which means long-suffering, forbearance, and patience. It is a compound word literally meaning long-passion or long-anger. Which means to put off being angry or upset.
It is interesting that this word is used here because this word is often used for God who has put off his anger against our sin. It is true that our God is long-suffering when it comes to sin. Peter used this word in 1 Peter 3:20 when he was talking about God being patient while Noah built the ark. Then he used the word again 2 Peter 3:9,15 when he said, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance…Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.” The reference Peter is making is most likely to Romans 2:4 where Paul said, “…do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
The Bible speaks over and over again about how we should show this kind of divine patience with others:
Proverbs 14:29 - “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
Ephesians 4:2 - “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Psalm 37:7 - “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
Colossians 3:12 - “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
I could quote these scriptures all night. The Bible is full of them.
We know we should have patience but we often fail. So then we pray for patience. When we it seems like there are more stresses and trials that come our way. That’s because God is answering our prayer. God does not work like a tv host who says, “You get more patience, and you get more patience, everybody gets free patiences.” No patience is earned. Real patience comes from the perseverance of intolerable situations. As we learn to endure we become more patient. So if you pray for patience you might find that God puts you in some situations that will cause that patience to grow.
So what can help you to be more patient as you bear with intolerable people and stressful situations? Remember that we are to produce all the aspects of this spiritual fruit. The very first slice is love. God’s definition for love is found in 1 Corinthians. And verse 4 gives us a hint: Love is patient. I believe we can be more patient when we focus on loving God and loving others. And don’t forget that the Holy Spirit will help you as you walk in step with him.
I read an article that gives 5 helpful hints for patience. Let me share you these with you. I added scripture references for your benefit.
Slow down and breath… take deep breaths (Ps 46:10)
Be more appreciative, Show gratitude (Cl 3:16)
Try to to understand the person or situation that stresses you out. Show compassion. (Pr 29:11; Ep 4:32)
Choose to make better discussions… use wisdom not emotion. (Ja 1:5)
Think before you speak (Ja 1:19)
Again remember that the reason we need to focus on all the aspects of this spiritual fruit is that one builds on another. Love often leads to joy. Joy often leads to peace. Peace often leads to patience. And patience will lead you to our next slice which is kindness.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for your patience with me. Help me to produce the desired results in my life by staying in step with your Holy Spirit. I want patience in my life. Help me to focus on the love, the joy, and the peace that leads to patience. It is in name of Jesus that I pray this. AMEN!
Let’s go produce some fruit. Remember Love is patient (1 Co 13:4)! So go and practice patience today. I hope you will join us tomorrow night at 6pm. God bless you and have a great night.