Fruit of the Spirit – Patience
(Part four of a series on Galatians 5:22-23)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…Patience”
Galatians 5:22 (NLT)
We have come to number four (Patience) in the list of the Fruit of the Spirit as written by the Apostle Paul nearly 2000 years ago. Some older translations of the Bible use the word longsuffering for the word patience in the NIV. Both translations equally reflect the mind of God.
The Oxford Dictionary defines patience as, Calm endurance of pain or of any provocation, perseverance, forbearance, quiet and self-possessed waiting for something.
The Bible tells us that God is a patient God. He proclaims in Exodus 34:6 that he is a God, “…merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.” (NKJV, emphasis mine throughout). The Apostle Peter tells us that God was patient in the days of Noah, while the Ark was being prepared (1Peter 3:20). In those days the earth was full of violence and evil, to the extent that God could no longer tolerate their wickedness. The people refused to listen and respond to the righteous preaching of Noah, and God judged the earth with a great flood. Noah and his immediate family were the only humans that survived the flood in the great ship.
Hundreds of years before Christ, God was patient and longsuffering toward his people, Israel and Judah. Sadly, however, they did not appreciate his patience and faithfulness and, ultimately, he let them be taken as slaves by their enemies. If the people had remained patient and loyal, they would have experienced blessings beyond their wildest dreams. The same could be true today if our nations would simply learn to trust God.
God’s Son, Jesus, was patient and longsuffering with his enemies when he came to live a perfect life, and then die like a criminal, for the sins of the world! He showed perfect patience with his disciples when they often didn’t understand and appreciate his teachings. He is patient with his church today in spite of her failings and shortcomings. Peter worded it well when he wrote, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise…He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV). James tells us to “let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4 NKJV).
May our loving Father help us grow in this beautiful Fruit of the Spirit—Patience.
Heavenly Father, You know that I often fall short of the patience You would like me to have, and I ask that You would give me the strength to overcome this weakness in my life. In Jesus’ Name.
Study by John Magowan
Grace Communion Lisburn
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