“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
Ok, the first thing I have to say, is that in the New King James Version, instead of the word, patience, it substitutes longsuffering. I think this is a much more descriptive word of what we tend to think patience is…suffering for a long time! But it is this suffering through troubles that produces our patience.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 We are all a “work in progress”, especially when it comes to patience. If there is one thing we rarely feel we have enough of, it’s patience. James reminds us that as we have trials and difficulties in our lives, we are to be joyful as these tests will produce patience and make us complete.
I will admit to being somewhat impatient in my writing of books for children. I love to write and have shared with all of you that I feel led by God to write stories for children, but (there’s always a “but”) I expect immediate (or at least timely) results. Why have none of my stories been published? I have sent them out to different publishers who still accept unsolicited manuscripts, but heavy sigh, no responses. If this is truly my calling, why can’t I fulfill it?
The best definition (I admit, a Christian definition) that I’ve seen for patience is “trusting God to keep His promises in His perfect timing”. I guess I have my answer. It is not God’s perfect timing. I wanted things in my timing. So, I have to continue to trust that this is what God wants me to do and therefore trust Him to keep His promises. But for now, the first gift from God is the fruit of the spirit of patience. I will remain patient as I remain in His will. And, I am writing! I love writing this blog and the kids blog. I am learning so much as I study for each week’s blogs. And I feel closer to God than I have ever been, so with joy I am patient as I continue to be a work in progress.
Sometimes we are impatient with God, sometimes with other people, sometimes with situations, and sometimes we are the most impatient with ourselves. If patience is indeed a fruit of the spirit, then we need to demonstrate our patience in our daily interactions with others. It is easy to get frustrated and our patience seems to just evaporate. If someone isn’t doing what we think they should, our patience is nowhere to be found. If we are to shine God’s light in our lives, then patience is one of the fruits we have to work at the hardest!
“By long forbearance (patience) a ruler is persuaded, And a gentle tongue breaks a bone.” Proverbs 25:15 We have only to look at a couple of stories in the Old Testament to see what patience produces. Think of Abraham and Sarah, waiting for a child, or Joseph in Egypt, waiting in prison. Patience can be a powerful tool for our lives. And a huge witness to all those we interact with.
This week let’s look at our trials and troubles from God’s perspective. Let’s be patient with His timing and joyfully let our patience develop into a ripe fruit of the spirit. And then let’s shine God’s light as we treat each person and situation with patience and a “gentle tongue”.
I thank God for each of you. And I thank you for joining me this week as we work on our fruit of the spirit – patience – together. God bless!