A fruit of the Spirit we’d much rather consume than produce.
Something we pray for to help us get through our own trials, too often forgetting patience is also part of bearing witness.
As Moses prepared to climb a mountain and die when God said it was his time, he told Israel how much patience they required. Through plagues, rescue, the parting of the sea, miraculous provision in the wilderness, outmatched battles, and the establishment of the law, Moses was patient. Forbearing. Enduring through rebellion after rebellion.
He needed patience from God to persevere with the stiff-necked people. The patience he received also testified to the people of God’s faithfulness to them. Fast forward to another man called to shepherd God’s stubborn people.
“You foolish Galatians!” (Galatians 3:1)
The apostle Paul’s stern correction to the early believers in Galatia carried a strong reminder to return to the God who set them free.
Israel had experienced freedom from bondage in Egypt by God’s might. The Galatians experienced freedom in Christ, God’s own Son. Yet, like Israel, they were eager to return to rules, repression, and religiosity.
“Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)
Paul had every reason for impatience, but he patiently bore with the Galatian believers, offering exhortation.
His enduring care for them did not urge them to muscle through, but to grow in dependence on the One who could empower them to bear trials patiently, who could sustain them and their testimony through every hardship. The Holy Spirit.
Not much later in the letter, Paul described the results of the Holy Spirit’s work in hearts, even stubborn and foolish ones.
Paul needed divine patience to bear with the churches who turned back so easily, the kind only available from the God who waits for each of us to come to Him. (2 Peter 3:9) The patience he received testified of God’s continued faithfulness to His church.
God Himself is patient, and His patience proves His faithfulness. He waited until the right time to send His Son to save us. Now, He is waiting to bring to completion His big promise, to begin the Day of Lord:
“The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
He invites us to experience this kind of patience in our own lives. A patience that doesn’t simply wait, but waits for a good, loving, hopeful purpose, like the salvation of many!
I’m convicted here when I realize I tend to think of patience as a fruit I want to eat more than produce.
I work to muster patience up first, scraping it together like hard-earned cash that can’t cover the bills (Lord, forgive me!). When I still don’t have enough, I remember where to turn. I ask God, and what patience He gives me through the Holy Spirit, I gobble up, giving thanks, but not giving myself up.
Then someone surprises me with a comment on how patient I seem. They ask how and why, and grace reminds me that patience is for feeding, not just receiving.
The fruit of the Spirit is a testimony to God’s character and faithfulness to all who come to Him.
Moses needed divine patience to do all God commanded, but that patience was also evidence to others of God’s enduring love.
Paul needed divine patience for his God-given mission, but that patience also spoke to those to whom he continually bore witness.
In truth, you and I tend to ask God for patience because we are hungering after something and don’t like to wait. The Holy Spirit produces patience in us so hungry people might see Jesus and know where to be filled.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
May those who look at us see the fruit of patience in our lives, and through that fruit, recognize the One who’s walking with us, who is patient with us, and who is patiently waiting to walk with them, too.
Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!
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