The next stop in our study of the Fruit of the Spirit is patience. As with the other fruit, I need to explain how God looks at this characteristic. Contrary to what society thinks, it’s not merely the ability to stand in a long check-out line without complaining.
I think that part of the reason we have a mistaken view of patience is that the KJV translated the word as long-suffering. We get the idea, from that word, that patience requires us to suffer for a long time. I’ve got good news for you. There’s no suffering involved in the original Greek word.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
The actual Greek word in Scripture is a compound word. It means long passioned. According to this verse, faith and patience go hand in hand. There’s a reason for that.
When we hear from the Lord and His Word, faith is birthed in us. We then start to pursue what we’re trusting God for. Then something happens. Day follows day, and week follows week.
As time goes on we sometimes lose sight of God’s promise. That’s when we need patience – the long passioned work of the spirit. I have to have the same passion about what I heard from God weeks, or even years after I initially heard it.
That’s what the fruit of patience is all about. I like the way James described it in his book.
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.
James uses the example of a farmer waiting for his crops to appear. He’s not just waiting in line for his turn at life.
He prepared the ground and planted the seed. He continued to work by weeding and fertilizing the field. He did all that was required of him, and now he’s patiently waiting for God’s part to be accomplished.
That’s the key to understanding God’s view of patience. The fruit of patience must always be based upon God’s Word. There’s an outcome that I’m trusting God for. So I want the Holy Spirit to cultivate a passion in me that won’t fade away over time.
This is the kind of patience that’s a part of God’s character. We can see this through Paul’s testimony of how the Lord worked in his life – bringing him to a knowledge of Christ.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:16
The fruit of patience in us is a manifestation of God’s patience at work. Christ didn’t just wait idly for Paul to become a Christian. The Lord saw the outcome before it was ever manifested.
That’s the patience I want the Holy Spirit to grow in my life. I want to see the outcome of my faith with the eyes of my spirit. Then it will produce a passion that doesn’t fade away over time.
Spend time in the spirit. Allow Him to work His patience in you. Then you can be long-passioned toward your destiny in Christ.
Question: What was a recent time that you saw God’s patience operating through you?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017