The Fruit of Patience
The Beginning, Part 2
Galatians 5:22 NKJV
2 Peter 3:9 ESV
I Corinthians 13:4a ESV
I Timothy 1:16 ESV
Colossians 3:12 ESV
Romans 12:12 ESV
Romans 8:25 ESV
Psalm 37:7 ESV
Isaiah 40:31 ESV
I have to admit patience is not my favorite subject to research and write about. Generally speaking I am a patient person, especially when it comes to dogs and children. I think that’s because when I was a child I remember forgetting things and accidentally messing up. I remember needing patience (even though at the time I didn’t really know what patience was.) What I wanted was forgiveness and grace so I give forgiveness and grace. I don’t specifically remember, but I suspect I am more forgiving as I grow older.
As an adult I now know my inability to remember things is probably connected to the high fever I had as a child. If I don’t write it down, I run the risk of not remembering. In college and in Seminary I took copious notes so I could study and re-study. I still need patience today and I know how that feels, so I give patience.
The thing I struggle with is how very patient God is with us. When I am praying for something or someone I can feel God’s patience. When I wait on the Lord to act, His patience is very long-suffering. In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, “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 is patient and it’s for a good reason. God always has a reason (I just don’t always know what that reason is).
In I Corinthians 13:4a, we learn that love is tied to patience when Paul writes, “Love IS patient.” That patient love doesn’t stem from us...it comes from God. God IS love (I John 4:7-8), and love is patient. As a fruit of the Spirit, patience is a gift from God.
It’s God’s love that is patient.
In I Timothy 1:16 Paul wrote, “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” Paul gives us the reason for Jesus’ perfect patience. What God desires most is that we would believe Him. The scripture in I Timothy speaks directly about believing in God for eternal life...God wants us to believe in Him for everything. God wants us to trust Him. God is merciful and patient because He is waiting for us to believe Him, come to Him and rely on Him.
God is patient because of His great love for us!
Scripture also speaks about receiving God’s patience. Paul clearly understood when he wrote about receiving the character of God in Colossians 3:12, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”
Paul knew from studying scripture in the Old Testament we wait on God to act. In Psalm 37:7, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Paul knew David’s message meant sometimes we must wait on God, and while we wait we develop trust (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Waiting on God and trusting Him is probably the most difficult lesson I continue to learn. Sometimes we have to wait for a long time. I know people who have prayed for another person for 40+ years and they continued to pray and wait. Paul was saying, as you pray and wait something IN you is growing what is profitable and full of God’s love. While we wait God is changing us.
When we wait, WE win the prize and the prize is receiving the character of God.
Isaiah knew that when he wrote in Isaiah 40:31, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
God is slow to anger and full of steadfast love (Psalm 86:15). God is patient and while we are not always patient, God waits for us. In turn, when we wait on God it is He who renews our strength. We are not alone in our waiting.
Paul reminds us in Romans that when we face trials we need to rely on God’s patience, even when we do not see the way ahead:
Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Romans 8:25, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
The irony of all ironies is that we actually think we are the one waiting.
We are not.
Through it all, it is God who is waiting on us. God waits for us to come to Him. God waits for us as we learn to listen to Him. God waits for us as we learn to return His love.
We learn in Galatians 5:22, “the fruit of the Spirit is...patience,” Truly, God is patient. We are not. But, God is giving us time to receive HIS PATIENCE.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Receive God’s Patience
Spend time sitting still before God. As we are still and wait, God renews our strength and lifts us up on eagle’s wings (Psalm 37:7 and Isaiah 40:31).
In God, Deborah