The Spiritual Fruit of Patience
I hope and pray that your Christmas and New Year celebrations were happy and blessed. In hopes of starting the year off right, a group of us are beginning 2018 with an adult mission trip. Once again, we will work through Samaritan’s Purse, helping victims of the 2016 floods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the same location we went to last January. The question has been asked, “How can there still be things to rebuild in Baton Rouge? Didn’t the floods happen close to a year and a half ago?”
And those are good questions. Why haven’t things returned to normal? Why are there still people who haven’t returned to their homes?
The fact is that we live in a world that thrives on and expects instant gratification and doesn’t have much of an attention span. We want everything right now and believe that everything should be immediately taken care of, whether we’re in the check out line, the doctor’s office or getting lunch. We all want what we want right now, and we can all be very uncomfortable with waiting.
I have often heard it said that you should never pray for patience because when you do the Lord is sure to give you something to try your patience. Patience is a word and a concept that is used a lot in the Bible. An Old English word for patience is “longsuffering”. Some other synonyms for patience include tolerance, forbearance and resignation.
The Bible teaches us that God is patient. Psalm 86: 15 says, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” 2 Peter 3:9 says God’s patience is for the good of the world, “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.”
For believers, patience is a sign of the Holy Spirit residing within them. Galatians 5:22-23 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Patience is to be valued, desired and practiced.
Unlike a news story that we listen to one day that is gone the next, life doesn’t always work that way. Just because we’re not hearing about the people who have lost their homes to natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and even civil unrest doesn’t mean they aren’t out there still struggling. Our Lord and Savior Jesus knows their predicament. He knows the struggles people have and calls us to remember and lift them up in any way we can.
In a world where patience is lacking and ‘out of sight-out of mind’ is the practice, we are called to live differently. Hebrews 6 tells us, “For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
As we begin the New Year, I pray that God will bless me with more patience to share His message in all I say and do in my life. I thank Him each and everyday for the gifts He has given to me and I pray we will all have a wonderful and blessed 2018.
In Jesus Name,
December 07, 2018
November 19, 2018
November 05, 2018