“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5).
All of us have “triggers”—things that easily push us over the edge with our patience. It can be people cutting ahead of us in line, a difficult person, a long wait at an appointment, a rude driver, or—fill in the blank.
Some seem to possess great patience, but most of us have difficulty demonstrating this fruit of the Spirit to everyone and in every situation. Yet this is exactly what God would have us do. “Be patient toward all men” (I Thessalonians 5:14).
What is patience? The patient person displays qualities of calmness, self-control, stability, and persistence. He is slow in avenging wrongs. He is willing to wait for something. The Bible frequently uses the word longsuffering, which is patient endurance. All this sounds formidable, but it becomes possible when we allow the Spirit of God to control our lives.
How do we develop patience? Romans 5:3 says that “tribulation worketh patience.” The Lord uses life’s trials to refine us and to produce endurance. This then helps to develop our character. James 1:4 advises, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking nothing” (NKJV). It is the mature tree that produces fruit, and it is the mature child of God who produces the fruit of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NKJV).
The fruit of the Spirit is not a “pick one” option (like plucking the shiniest apple from the tree) and then that is enough. All nine attributes are so entwined that they are inseparable. We have patience because we possess love. Inner peace and joy make it easier to be patient with the things life throws our way. Gentleness and self-control allow us to keep our temper in check when people irritate us. Visualize these qualities as a single fruit growing on one vine.
So how does one develop patience? The key to this and all other attributes of a Spirit-led life is abiding on the true vine (John 15).
We should show patience in:
- Relationships (I Thessalonians 5:14; II Timothy 2:24)
- Waiting for God (Psalm 130:5; Romans 8:25)
- Afflictions and problems (I Peter 2:19-20; II Corinthians 6:4-5)
- Working for God (Galatians 6:9; II Timothy 3:14)
- Forgiveness (Colossians 3:12-13; Ephesians 4:32)
- Qualifying for ministry (Titus 2:2)
- Waiting for the rapture (James 5:7-8)
- Being a testimony to others (I Timothy 1:16; II Timothy 3:10)
“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life” (Chinese Proverb).
Lord, when You see me becoming impatient, stop me. Help me to remember that wherever I go, I represent You to the world. When I display impatience and annoyance at the actions of others, I am not representing You well. My desire is to grow in the fruit of the Spirit so that my life is a testimony of Your love and kindness regardless of the situation.