“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.” ~ Galatians 5:22-23
In the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, the word “patience” does not appear at all in the Old Testament. I, of course, use the NIV version, so that might not be the case, but I just thought it was an interesting little factoid.
Now let’s get into patience. Flip with me to Luke 8:15.
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” ~ Luke 8:15
Some of you might be thinking, “Wait a minute. Patience is not mentioned in this verse.” But if you’re thinking that, I’m gonna have to say you’re wrong. Sorry.
Let me explain. This verse is talking about true believers, who are honest and kind and do their very best to bring glory to God in everything they do. Now let’s zero in on that word “persevering.” By PERSEVERING, a crop is produced. This is the word that talks about patience.
From what I have seen, there are two kinds of patience: enduring patience and waiting patience. Enduring patience, also known as perseverance, is the patience to endure persecution that may arise because of belief in God. Waiting patience is exactly what it sounds like ~ the patience to wait on God and continue on to the end.
I needed to bring up Luke 8:15 to explain these two types of patience before I went into depth about either one of them. Both are vital to a believer’s life, and both are implied in the word “patience” mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 as one of the Fruits of the Spirit.
Now let’s get into enduring patience, also known as perseverance or long-suffering.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” ~ Romans 5:3-4
This verse tells us plain and simple that hardship produces “enduring patience.” But it doesn’t mean that hardship in itself produces perseverance. It’s not the suffering that gives us perseverance ~ it’s God working THROUGH the suffering. It proves and improves patience in us, just like working out strengthens your muscles and using your talents increase them. And, as Matthew Henry’s Commentary (MHC) says, “That which worketh patience is a matter of joy; for patience does us more good than tribulations can do us hurt.”
Take Job, for example. I mentioned Job briefly in my earlier post in this study about joy. Job is a great role model when it comes to enduring patience as well, perhaps the best you can find. Suffering tests our own sincerity as believers, which is why we call them “trials.” Job’s suffering produced patience, and that patience made itself known through his staying strong in his integrity. MHC says, “In suffering times, set patience upon the guard for the persevering of your souls; by it keep your souls composed and in a good frame, and keep out all those impressions which would ruffle you and put you out of temper.”
“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” ~ Titus 2:2
There is a lot of information you can get from this verse if you wanted it, but I’m going to focus on just the endurance part and bring up one small thought for your consideration. “Faith, love, and patience are three main Christian graces, and soundness in these is much of gospel perfection” (MHC).
If you want a passage where you can really think hard about enduring patience, check out James 5:7-12. But as for me, to keep this post moving along, let’s jump instead into waiting patience.
We all know what waiting patience is. It’s the ability to wait. Pretty straightforward and an easy concept to grasp. Every one of us has had something in our lifetimes that we desperately wanted, especially as children, and it was the toughest thing in the world to wait for it. Whether it was just for an hour or whether it was a month (Christmas comes to mind), or even up to a year or more, that wait was simply excruciating, and sometimes we wondered if we would ever make it through.
In Matthew 18:26, a servant owed his master a lot of money, so he begged for time to pay him back. The master was kind and patience and gave him the time he needed. “Patience and forbearance are a great favor, but it is folly to think that these alone will save us; reprieves are not pardons” (MHC).
There’s a lot more to this story than just that, but this is what I’m going to bring your attention to at the moment. We owe God everything ~ our lives, everything in them, and more than we could possibly give. He sent His Son so Jesus could “pay Him back” for us, but now we owe Jesus. He saved our lives ~ the least we can do is give them to him. When we die and are buried, on your gravestone there will be two numbers ~ a year and a year ~ with a dash between them. It’s what we do with that dash that makes it worth it, and we owe it to Him. It’s your choice whether you’ll give it to Him.
I may have gotten a little off track there. Back to patience.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus…” ~ Romans 15:5
God is the God of patience. He’s the God of many other things too, but right now we’re talking about patience. If we need it for anything ~ to get through a tough time, to learn to wait for something, or to calm our nerves against another person ~ we can trust Him to give us the very best patience you can find (God is high-quality, see). And the more patience and comfort we receive from God, the better disposed we are to love one another, which is really the main point to being a Christian.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” ~ Hebrews 10:36
This is where it really gets exciting. This is where we get something in return (which, of course, we don’t deserve). If you read through the Bible, you’ll find promises galore that God has made for His people. He will bless us beyond our wildest dreams if we live for Him, and He has made you ~ YOU! ~ a mansion in His kingdom (or a cabin, or you know, whatever floats your goat. The point is, you have a place in Heaven). Your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and with it comes all the benefits. So be patient. Persevere. Live for Him, even if it hurts. It’s way beyond worth it.