The Mortification of Sin: The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Perhaps you can identify with the following quotes regarding the subject of personal patience. I know I sure can.

“I am not a patient man and never have been. I do not like to wait or be kept waiting. But it’s not like I want to be this way. I cannot become patient fast enough. I really want this fruit of the Holy Spirit to be more readily observable in my life. I just want it to be observable right now.”

“We are told that we live in a culture that is consumed by consumerism. Madison Avenue daily feeds our instant gratification, which is not merely a weakness; it is an addiction in our time. The epidemic of credit-card indebtedness bears witness to this malady. We want our luxuries, our pleasures, and our niceties, and we want them now. The antiquated virtue by which stewardship capitalism had its impetus was the principle of “delayed gratification.” One postponed immediate consumption in favor of investing for future growth. By that principle, many prospered—but not without the necessary exercise of patience.”

“When the Bible speaks of patience, particularly as one of the fruits of the Spirit, and as one of the characteristics of love, it speaks of it as a virtue that goes far beyond the mere ability to await some future gain. It involves more than the rest or peace of the soul that trusts in God’s perfect timing. The patience that is in view here focuses more on interpersonal relationships with other people. It is the patience of longsuffering and of forbearing in the midst of personal injury. This is the most difficult patience of all.

Have you ever encountered someone, let’s use the workplace for example, towards whom you had to be patient? I’m sure you have. I know I have. It may be a person who is just hard to like and oftentimes hard to work with. Hopefully, we’re not that particular person to other people. 

Don’t you often wish you could just let loose and let that person in question know how you really feel? Don’t you often want to tell that person what you really think of their behavior, laziness and general poor attitude? Don’t you get frustrated when they criticize you and get in your face when all you want is to be left alone to do your job?

This is when and where the fruit of patience comes into focus. This is where our true spiritual maturity is tested and evaluated. Are we truly able to patiently endure trials and sufferings, at whatever level they occur, as a testimony of our faith and trust in the LORD?

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “If we look at the triad of virtues underscored in the New Testament—faith, hope, and love—we see that each one of these virtues contains within it the necessary ingredient of patience. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love suffers long. This longsuffering, forbearing patience is to be the Christian’s reflection of the character of God. It is part of God’s character to be slow to anger and quick to be merciful. Part of the incomprehensibility of God in terms of my own relationship with Him is this: I cannot fathom how a holy God has been able to put up with me marring His creation to the degree I have for three score and five years. For me to live another day requires a continuation of God’s gracious patience with my sin. The bare and simple question is this, “How can He put up with me?” The mystery is compounded when we add to the patience of God not only His patience with me but His patience with you, and you, and you, and you—multiplied exponentially throughout the whole world. It becomes even more difficult to fathom when we see a sinless Being more patient with sinful beings than sinful beings are with each other.

In our quest to mortify sin, think of the times and circumstances when you tend to become impatient. Can you think of some? We all can. Repent of them and ask God to not only cleanse and forgive you of the sin of impatience but also to strengthen you, by the Holy Spirit, to become a more patient person. Be patient, it will happen. 

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!   

 

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