“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience…” Galatians 5:22a
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
I was looking through my blogs and noticed that I didn’t complete this series on “Women in Step”. This could be because I’m forgetful which is true but more likely it’s because of what the next step is…PATIENCE! This is the word we all shy away from because it’s so hard to practice. We live in a microwave-internet society which loves the fast forward button on the remote. This should not, however, affect our walk as followers of Christ. Let’s tackle this step of patience by looking at the definition, what God’s patience looks like, and the call for us to be patient with all men.
Patience is in the top 1% of lookup and is the 233rd most popular word on the Merriam-Webster website. This tells us that the whole world is concerned with this attribute of patience. Here is the definition of patience. “Bearing pain or trials calmly or without complaint, steadfast despite opposition or difficulty and not hasty”. The definition gives us a tall order to fill in life as we walk by the Spirit. Our tendencies are not to wait for anything, but rather to act in our own arrogance, moving forward, trying to control, or pushing others to follow our prideful spirit. These steps don’t end well in the best of situations. Most of the time, we will face the consequences of our lack of patience along the way. God’s patience is displayed for us in the scriptures and we need to learn from him.
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
God is patient with grace. In this chapter of Isaiah, Judah has forsaken the Lord and yet God is still gracious to his people. He waits. He judges perfectly at the perfect time and with the perfect discipline. God never rushes to get it done but waits for the best time to extend grace. He is patient with grace for us as well. He is God and he never changes so it will be the perfect time when he grants us grace, justice, mercy and discipline. He is patient to do this to get our attention firmly on him. It would be great if we would take his lead and be patient regardless of the circumstances. The scriptures teach us to whom we are to be patient.
“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14
Can you believe we are to be patient with all men? That’s what Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica. This is a huge command to follow. We are to have patience regardless of the characteristics displayed by others such as idleness, faintheartedness, and weakness. Our patience doesn’t depend on the other person but should flow out of our hearts toward them. This requires the work of the Spirit in our lives. We certainly can’t do this on our own. The fruit of the Spirit is patience. We need to let go of our selfishness and allow the Spirit to display the fruit in us. The big question, is so why don’t we practice patience?
Let’s take a look at the microwave-internet society in which we live. The result of this society is “I want what I want when I want it”. Our wants drive us so much of the time, and wants are not patient. They are demanding. It’s this attitude which prevents us from moving forward in patience. Notice the words “moving forward”. Patience doesn’t mean stillness. There are times to be still as you wait, but more often than not, you can keep moving as you’re following God in patience. The answers may not be in front of your face but you can trust God anyway. Is this hard? Yes. Should we pray for patience? This is a question we need to answer. There are those who claim that praying for patience is bad because God will give us a trial or hardship in order to teach us patience. The truth is, as followers of Christ, we have the fruit of patience available to us. The Holy Spirit indwells us and patience is part of the fruit. We need to display it even when it’s hard to do. Praying for God to help us allow the Spirit to put patience on display is a great prayer.
Let’s practice patience! Let’s walk by the Spirit! Let’s imitate God!
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Ephesians 5:1