Fruit of the Spirit—Part 4: Patience
The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22-23, “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The mark that a believer is in Christ and growing more like Christ, is the evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit in their life. This evidence is the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit are the attributes of God’s character manifested in the follower of Christ. A tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33).
Fourth in our series on the fruits of the Spirit, we now come to the fruit of the Spirit that I personally struggle with the most. Patience. Like so many in our culture, I want things to happen according to my schedule, my planning, my design, and my intentions. I purposefully avoid theme parks and their long lines, traffic jams and Black Friday sales. My impatience hasn’t mellowed with age. If anything, it has intensified as demands on my time have increased. And yet, the Scripture tells us that the Spirit exhibits patience. But this contrast between our nature or personality, and the fruit of the Spirit ought not to discourage us. For the fruit of the Spirit is just that. The fruit of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence in us. It is not dependent on our ability or personality or desire or motivation or commitment. But rather on the indwelling of the Spirit of Almighty God.
God’s patience is not a lack of concern. It is not a lackadaisical attitude. His patience is not a lack of zeal or passion that shrugs and says “whatever, I don’t care.” God’s patience does not say “que sera, sera.” No, rather, God’s patience and thus, the patience that is to be manifest in the believer, is patience for the good of those Jesus died to save. Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:9 of God’s patience: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” God’s patience towards us displays his never-ending kindness and grace. He is patient with us because He desires that we come to Him.
As we look at the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, the first direct description of love given by the Apostle Paul in verse 4 is “Love is patient.” We know that love desires the very best for the beloved. Love is passionate about the good of the beloved. God’s love for us is faithful: true, strong and zealous. And yet in the midst of its intensity and passion, in the depth of that love that culminated upon the cross of Christ, God’s love is patient.
It is the love of the Father that, day after day, when everyone else has given up hope, scans the horizon and looks down the road searching for the familiar figure of his wayward child.
What is the God’s patience? It is His stubbornly enduring love that nothing in all of creation can separate us from.
In the Christian, patience is the love of the Father for the lost son manifest in our love for our brethren and for those who have yet to become our brethren. It is a love for the lost that continues despite rejection. It is the repeated giving of time and wealth and home and even health despite the lack of reciprocation. It is the turning of the other cheek for the 491 st time. It is seen in the calloused knees of mothers and fathers praying for their children. It is exemplified by the ambassador for Christ who, with the mindset of the faithful missionary, continually shares the gospel without seeing the fruit of their labor.
What is patience? It is His grace continually poured out on us, poured out through us. It is His love that
“always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. And never fails” (1 Cor. 13:7-8).
So how do we as Christians exhibit this fruit? As always, “we” don’t. The Holy Spirit in us, does. Those that remain lost and those that have been found, do not need the kind of patience that my flesh exhibits. We are all in desperate need of the loving, gracious patience of God, manifested in the people of God. May we set aside our agendas, our time tables, our schedules, our opinions, and our expectations. May we simply, and unswervingly, patiently and without end… love. May we show one another, and show the world the image of God in us through His patience manifest through us. May we do so because this is the patience He has with us. May we do so for the cause of Christ.
In His Patient Love,
Pastor Brian TorresNovember 1, 2023