Welcome to Day 8 of our 3M Fast. Today, our Devotional will focus on the Fruit of “PATIENCE” as recorded in Galatians 5:22-23.
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
The fourth fruit of the spirit is Patience. The word “Patience” is mentioned in scripture at least 70 times. But, really who has time for patience? All of us have been told at some point in our lives, to just be patient. We are living in a period of time where “instant gratification” is the order of the day. Instant gratification is the need to experience fulfillment without any sort of delay or wait. We now have same day deliveries. We have the ability to stream full seasons of TV shows within seconds. Wal-Mart and eBay have challenged Amazon in a battle of which company can deliver the fastest, because consumers’ habits have made it clear that they will pay big bucks to avoid waiting. We have express grocery lines, express traffic lanes, express amusement park passes, express mail, express printing, express laundry and not to mention, express dating, all because nobody enjoys patiently waiting.
For most of us, patience can be difficult and hard to display and certainly hard to come by. Today more than ever, patience is a dying virtue. Patience is a forgotten virtue. And yet the Bible speaks very highly about patience. In Proverbs 16 verse 32 (ESV)
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Proverbs 16:32 (ESV)
This is also seen in Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verses 8 and 9 –
“…the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry; for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”
Patience being both useful and difficult is often thought of as a virtue, but it can also be understood as a complex of virtues, including self-control, humility, tolerance, generosity, and mercy. Patience however, is more than our individualistic and materialist ambition, action, or activity. The word patience in Galatians 5:22, translated in Greek is “Makrothumia.” This word doesn’t refer as much to patience about things or events as much as it refers to “Patience with People!” It suggests delaying one’s anger for a long period of time and is sometimes translated as “longsuffering.”
This same word by the way, is often used to describe God’s patience toward us. 1 Timothy 1:16 says,
“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, 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
Makrothumia is made up of two words: “MACRO” which means “Long” and “THUMIA” which means “Temper” or “Explosion.” A patient person has a long fuse instead of a short one; it’s a long time before a patient person loses their temper. This person is slow to become angry amidst the frustration of life. Patience is “the capacity of quality of enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness. It’s the quality of preserving; of calmly awaiting an outcome; of not being hasty or impulsive.” When we bear the fruit of patience, we are becoming more like our Lord.
Describe a time when you lost patience with someone. How did you feel when it happened? How did they feel by your reaction? God has demonstrated amazing patience with us individually and collectively. Reflecting on your past, can you share a time when God would have been most tempted to lose His patience with you? In light of God’s response to your wayward moment, how should you now respond to persons who try your patience?