Fruits Of The Holy Spirit – Patience
Fruits Of The Holy Spirit
It only takes 1 unpleasant experience or a trial to find out how limited our patience is. Or an interaction with an unpleasant or irritating person. Human patience is extremely limited. Especially compared to the unlimited supernatural patience of God.
Every person has a human capacity to be patient. To a point. Our patience can be expanded, to a point. But every single person’s patience falls short of God’s glory and His unlimited patience.
Sooner or later your patience will fall short or fail. It is a good thing to learn your limitations. We all have limitations – to love others, to be patient,… It is good to learn our limitations, because it helps us to see that we need to depend on God for many things. Strength, empowerment, ability to love like He does, patience, endurance, forgiveness…
An Biblical Example Of Human Patience
Job suffered more than most people would ever have to suffer in their life. For a long time God never answered Job’s prayers, and it left him feeling sorry for himself and very confused. Yet he never walked away from God.
But he did lose his patience. Which is certainly understandable in his case. Most of us lose our patience far sooner than Job did. But even Job’s patience failed him. And he began to complain that God was not answering his prayers and rescuing him from his suffering.
“Oh, that I had someone to hear me ! I sign now my defense – let the Almighty answer me. Let my accuser put his indictment in writing.” – Job 31:35
God’s Response To Job’s Prayers & Complaints
Finally God did answer Job:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? “Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know…” (Job 38:1 to Job 40:1 and Job 40:6 to Job 41:34)
Job was very humbled by the suffering, and by God’s strong rebuke. In the end, after much suffering, and by God’s grace, Job exited the severe trials a far better person.
The greatest result of Job’s suffering ? Job knew God more intimately by experiencing Him in a real and personal way. Job said this about his experience: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You. Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:5-6
In the end God restored everything Job lost two-fold, and Job had a deeper and more intimate knowledge, and intimate fellowship with God. (Job 42:10-17).
Patience Is Important To Wait For God’s Timing
God’s timing is certainly not the same as ours. Part of the problem of being human, especially these days, is that most of us want what we want now. Or we want it very soon. Even more so when we are in a difficult situation or trial. We want God’s answer and help immediately. And when it doesn’t come quickly we get impatient with God. And discouraged. And some even turn away from God.
Learning to wait on God’s timing is critical to learning how to faithfully follow Him. A key sign that shows someone is not fully submitted and committed to Jesus is not being willing to wait on His timing.
Saul is a good example of this. The people of Israel wanted a human king. God wanted to be Israel’s God and King, but they insisted on being like other nations and having a human king. So Saul was anointed as king of Israel. Saul was an insecure and self-centered man, who was more interested in following his own ways and will than God’s. Part of following God’s will and not your own is to submit to His timing.
In 1 Samuel 13 Saul and the army of Israel were waiting for the prophet Samuel to arrive to offer a sacrifice to God before going to war. Samuel was delayed, and the soldiers were anxious and about to flee rather than fight against the Philistines. Saul became impatient and chose to offer a sacrifice on his own. Which was very much against God’s law and a huge mistake. And it was against the word of the Lord given to Saul in 1 Samuel 10 to wait for Samuel to offer the sacrifice.
1 Samuel 13:13 – “Just as Saul finished the sacrifice, Samuel arrived and said, “You have done a foolish thing. You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you”.
Saul’s impatience was an outward sign that he was not whole heartedly committed to seeking and following God. Or to following God’s instructions, or wait for God’s timing. Waiting for God’s timing can be difficult, but often it is disastrous when we do not.
Jesus Commands Us To Be Patient With Others
Even though our human capacity to be patient is very limited, Jesus commands us to be patient. Patient in trials. And patient when dealing with others.
Ephesians 4:1-2 – “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.”
Romans 12:12 – “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Why does Jesus command us to be patient with others, even though other people can be difficult to deal with ? And how can Jesus expect us to be patient in the midst of trials and difficulties ?
First, exhibiting love and patience with others glorifies God. And so does being patient and hopeful in the midst of trials. But it also accomplishes another thing that Jesus wants to teach us. It teaches us to recognize our limitations to love, to forgive, and to be patient.
When we learn to recognize our human limitations, we then can learn that we need to depend on God. For everything. Not just for strength and power to do His will and His kingdom work & mission. But we need to learn to depend on God for everything. Including depending on God for the grace to obey His commands, like love others as yourself. And love others and be patient with them.
God’s grace is not only for salvation. God’s grace takes many forms. It is the strength and empowerment to fulfill God’s kingdom work and mission in the world. And it is the grace to love others. And grace to be joyful, at peace, and to be patient. The fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is the grace of God. God’s grace is available to all Christians.
Fruits Of The Holy Spirit – God’s Supernatural Patience
Patience is another of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. God’s ability and capacity to be patient is not limited like ours. God’s patience, like His love, is supernatural. There are not limits to God’s patience. It does not change or run out.
God is patient with us. Even though we are sinners and fail Him at times, God never stops loving us or stops being patient with us. Paul talked about God’s great patience with him in 1 Timothy 1.
1 Timothy 1:16 – “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience, as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life..”
God is even patient with ungodly evil people. Even though sinful/evil people are heading to God’s judgement and eternal punishment, God is delaying to give them a chance to repent and commit to follow Jesus and receive salvation. It will surely come one day. But by God’s grace and His supernatural patience, it has been delayed as long as possible.
2 Peter 3:7-9 – “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (evil). But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
God’s supernatural grace and patience is available to all Christians. But to receive God’s grace and supernatural love, joy, peace, patience,… you need to completely submit and surrender yourself and your life to Jesus. This means denying yourself, talking up your cross (submit to God’s will and ways), and then wholeheartedly seeking and following Jesus.
Next week we will study the next of the fruits of the Holy Spirit – Kindness.
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This article was originally published by Kevin Bart at Pursuing Intimacy With God.