Read: Romans 12:12, James 5:11
Over the years, I have heard many comments about patience… “He has the patience of Job”…“Don’t pray for God to teach you patience–you won’t like what he’ll put you through to learn it” and several others. Here is the thing...if you have professed belief in Christ and accepted Him as your Savior, then you have the Holy Spirit in you. So, you already have patience in you. This fruit may merely need to be ripened or unburied. Our fourth fruit to discuss is patience.
The Greek word for “patience” in Galatians 5:22 has the word “longanimity” in the definition. That word means “calmness in the face of suffering adversity.” Various commentators define patience in this verse as “patience sustained under injuries or provocation” and “patience in the face of wrongs or ill-treatment.”
Three biblical role models of patience are Job, Esther, and most importantly - God. Job is the man in the Bible most often credited with having an abundance of patience. He absolutely had a great deal of calmness in the face of much adversity. God allowed Satan to test Job by taking all of his wealth, his children, and by afflicting him with illness. Job showed amazing patience in the most difficult of circumstances.
Esther showed patience and restraint waiting on God. She waited and fasted before God for three days before she felt God telling her to approach the King with her concern. Upon doing so, the king could have had her killed on the spot. But, God paved the way and channeled the waters of the king’s heart. Because of her patience and obedience, the King granted her wish. This was ultimately how the entire Jewish nation was saved! God used an obedient young lady to accomplish His purpose and His plan.
The best example of biblical patience is God Himself. In Genesis, God demonstrated great patience with Adam and Eve and their blatant disobedience. He didn’t destroy them, which He could have, and start all over. He showed patience. He loved them through their sin. Later in Genesis, the story of Noah is found. For over 120 years God demonstrated extreme patience with the human race as sin ran rampant, and God waited patiently for men to repent, but they never did. That blatant disregard for God resulted in the flood that killed everyone except for Noah and his family. Patience is definitely an attribute of God.
In my own life, I feel that I am going through a period of adversity right now. Recently, my Dad had a stroke that has affected his ability to walk. After a five-day stay in the hospital, he was discharged to a 21-day rehabilitation facility. After the 21 days, he still could not walk unassisted. Thus, he could not go home. He is in the same facility, but now on a long term care hall. Our goal is for him to spend additional time in a physical therapy maintenance program and eventually be able to walk and go home. God has taught me and continues to teach me so much through this trial, including patience. I need complete trust in Him for His healing process and His timing.
Practicing patience can be the most difficult when we are asked to wait on God’s answer. When I pray, I prefer that God gives me a definitive yes or no. I don’t really like it when the answer is “wait”. I thought when my dad entered the rehab facility that after 21 days he would walk out, unassisted. But, God is saying wait. I encourage you to exercise patience when seeking God on any request or direction from Him. Give Him time to work.
Patience is the piece of fruit in our fruit bowl that probably ripens the slowest for most people. But, if you ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and practice obedience to God, patience will seep in and can eventually saturate your life.
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