Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit -- Patience

Chuckle: What would you do on a first date that was turning sour? "I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns." --Craig, age 9
Quote: “Regardless of how much patience we have, we would prefer never to use any of it.” --James T. O'Brien
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT -- PATIENCE
    "And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone" (I Thessalonians 5:14 NIV). "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:16,22 NIV).
A teacher had just finished putting the last pair of galoshes on her first-graders -- thirty two pairs in all. The last little girl said, "You know what, teacher? These aren't my galoshes." The teacher kindly removed them from the girl's feet. Then the little girl continued, "They are my sister's, and she let me wear them." The teacher quietly put them back on her pupil. Now that's patience!
Patience has never come easy for me. Maybe it's from my 30-year military background where things had to be done yesterday, if not sooner. As a pastor, I initially had difficulty being patient with lazy Christians who showed little sense of urgency when it came to the Lord's work. However, God has shown me that it is not my responsibility to motivate Christians. That's the job of the Holy Spirit. It is my responsibility to be patient as God has been patient with me, and allow Him to use me to teach others the truths of God's Word. Motivating them to respond to these truths is God's (Holy Spirit's) responsibility. The most significant impact any of us can have in teaching about patience, as a fruit of the Spirit, is to practice patience ourselves in word and in deed.
"Patience" and "patient" are used to translate several Hebrew and Greek words meaning endurance, steadfastness, longsuffering, and forbearance. God is patient (Romans. 15:5). He is slow to anger in relation to the Hebrew people (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18). God's patience with sinners allows time for them to repent (Romans 2:4), especially in the apparent delay of the return of Christ (2 Peter 3:9-10).
God's people are to be patient and love as He has loved us. Being patient involves demonstrating fortitude instead of losing heart. It includes being slow to anger in difficult situations. A patient individual is not easily offended. God enables His people to be patient and He expects us to face adversity patiently and with perseverance (Romans 5:3-4). Such patience involves active endurance of opposition rather than passive resignation.
Christians need patient endurance in the face of persecution as the alternative to shrinking back during adversity. Jesus is the great example of patience and endurance, and Christian patience is ultimately a gift from God -- a fruit of His Spirit, not a virtue we can acquire in our own strength. If we want patience and other fruits of the Spirit to grow in us, we must join our lives to Christ. We must know Him, love Him, remember Him, and imitate Him.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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