We’re looking at the nine facets of this fruit of a life filled with God. Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 6:22-23) Let’s take a closer look at that fourth facet of the fruit of the Spirit of God, patience.
What’s patience? My definition – The person of patience is willing to leave the timetable of change in God’s hands.
The value of patience is perhaps best identified when we think of the variety of negative ramifications that come from being impatient. When we’re impatient we quit too soon, take wrong (and often sinful) shortcuts, hurt our relationships with others, and become judgmental and arrogant. Then there’s the fact that haste makes waste!
Patience is a willingness to wait while circumstances and people change for the better, a process often largely out of our control. This doesn’t mean we do nothing while we wait. Patience means being persistent at doing the appropriate work while we wait.
The right attitude is a big part of patience. We decide to deal with the imperfect and unfinished without complaining.
There are a great many positive results of exhibiting patience; here’s three – There’s real power in patience. “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15) Patience shows us to be wise. “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” (Proverbs 14:29) Patience brings peace to relationships. “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18)
How can we be more patient? I find that it helps for me to remember that God has to be patient with me. The apostle Paul wrote, “I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience…” (1 Timothy 1:16)
This brings me full circle, back to seeing patience as a willingness to live by God’s timetable. It prompts me to pray as the psalmist prayed. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1)