Our next Fruit of the Spirit is Patience.
It was one of those days. The alarm either didn’t go off, or I turned it off and went back to sleep. Forty-five minutes later, I woke in a panic. The blouse I had planned to wear had a huge stain on the front. We were out of milk for my cereal. Hubby needed something, and I snapped at him. Dog needed attention, and I snarled at him. Students at school acted exactly the same way they had just yesterday, but I couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t have the patience for it.
Is patience something that seems to come and go in your life, too? Or is it just me?
I used to think “Patience” was about waiting. Be patient for some big event or something. But it’s more than that. Much more.
The Gal. 5:22, “Patience” comes from the Greek makrothumia – based on 2 words. MACRO means “be far,” and THUMOS means “anger.” Together, the idea of being far from anger may feel more like another word used in some translations: long-suffering.
Our Source and Example
God identifies Himself as “The LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, SLOW TO ANGER, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Ex 34:6-7a) The ancients took God at His word. Moses reminded Him of this in Num. 14:18. The Levites reminded God again in Neh. 9:17. David sang about it in Ps 86:15 and Ps. 145:8
Joel 2:13 calls for a return to “the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, SLOW TO ANGER and abounding in love. Jonah knew this is who God is. (Jon. 4:2) And Nahum begins hnis prophecy with the same descriptors in chapter one, verse three. So, if God’s own words put “SLOW TO ANGER” in His Top 3 characteristics, we should be excited! After all, this elusive “Patience” is given to us through the Holy Spirit – and the Holy Spirit is God! So, this ability to wait through frustration is available from God, and He can help us grow it in ourselves.
Tips from Proverbs
One of the coolest things about Proverbs is how so many little nuggets of wisdom us comparison/contrast to get the point across:
14:29-The Patient man has great understanding, BUT the quick-tempered man displays folly.” When I dig into that a bit, I notice the patient man’s understanding is private. Internal. But the other’s folly is displayed for all to see.
15:18-“A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, BUT a patient man calms a quarrel.” Basically this: Do you want to be known as a Peace-maker or a Trouble-maker?
16:32-“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who take a city.” Calm the quarrel! Again. What do you want your reputation to be?
19:11-“A man’s wisdom give him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Let it go!
Why Do We Need Patience?
The short answer is this: We need patience because we must deal with flawed humans – and they must deal with us and all our flaws, too. If you live alone on an island and never encounter other people, then maybe this would never be an issue for you. But, in a world with scary viruses and the constant threat of gang violence war and touchy politics, we end up dealing with frazzled people. So we need patience.
“Slow to Anger, AND…”
In God’s description of Who He is in Ex. 34:6-7a, He is…”slow to anger and ABOUNDING IN LOVE.” That’s an important combination. Slow to anger because of abundant love. And in these very trying times, that’s exactly what we need.
Father God, ramp us my patience daily to meet the needs of frustrated, scared and anxious people. Let Your love flow from me in abundance. Thank you.
Thank you for stopping by today. If you are one of the anxious ones, check out my new FREE course: Less Fear More Jesus here.by