The Fruit of the Spirit – Patience

Photo by Abdullah

In the age where we have gotten accustomed to everything immediate, we respond poorly when we have to exhibit patience towards others or when God intends for us to be patient with what He is doing.

What is Patience?

Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delays, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

Reading this definition made me squirm for the number of times I so easily have failed to be what it describes. Patience being a spiritual fruit is not an innate quality of our human nature but it comes from the spirit’s work in us and so we have hope.

The spirit works in us, but we too have a responsibility in the process, of obedience, of submitting to the refining work of the spirit, lessening ourselves so that God can increase in us and to be doers of the word and not hearers only.

God’s Patience towards us

We might need to grow in patience but God doesn’t. It is part of His perfect divine nature.

In Exodus 34:6 God describes himself to Moses saying “I am the Lord God, I am merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Reading this verse brings to light that His steadfast love, faithfulness, mercy and grace towards us, all tie in together for God to be patient (slow to anger) with us. We do not deserve and neither do we earn His patience with our behaviour, but God being who He is, is what causes Him to be patient with us.

God is slow to anger and even though he can mete out justice quickly in response, He chooses to show us restraint.

His restraint is for a reason, as we read in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

And further in verse 15a we read “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.”

He extends His patience in His love so that us sinners can turn to Him and be saved. He extends His patience to those who know Him as Lord and yet falter because He in His love gives us time to shed our earthly nature and become more Christ like.

We see examples of this through scripture. God was patient with the sinners during Noah’s time (1 Peter 3:20). He was patient with Abraham when he faltered in believing the how and when of God’s promise of descendants and tried to manufacture the promise in his own timing and in his own way. We read in Psalm 78:38 how time after time God restrained His anger and did not stir up his full wrath towards the people of Israel when they were disobedient to God.

God’s patience is not licence for us to be disobedient

God’s patience is lengthy but disobedience to Him, he does not overlook. God gave the people of Israel time to repent but judgement eventually came and with ample warning. And similarly, with the people at Noah’s time.

We see God get angry with Moses because of his disobedience, we read that in Numbers 20.  God tells Moses to speak for water to come from the rock but Moses decides to do differently and strikes the rock. That disobedience cost him. God says in verse 12 “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

Living out Patience

Paul writes in 1 Timothy 1:16 “I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example of those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”

And in light of the patience God showed towards Paul, we see him write about the patience he is to show towards others so that they are examples of God’s saving grace and are not stumbling blocks to anyone.

2 Corinthians 6:3-6 “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness.”

Paul’s words help us ask ourselves that in light of the immense patience God shows us, how do we live out the patience that he offers us?

Reflecting His patience in an impatient world to those around is an opportunity for us to reflect Christ’s love to others.

We might then say that some people can be difficult to extend patience towards especially when they hurt you. But patience should not be mistaken for tolerance. God is patient with sinners but he does in no way excuse or tolerate sinful behaviour and such behaviour does have consequences.

When are we to be patient?

We are to be patient with God’s timing – Ps 37:7 says “Be still before the Lord; and wait patiently for him.”

David writes in Ps 40:1 “I waited patiently for the Lord, he turned to me and heard my cry.”

And we are to do that because His word reminds us to “Trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding” (Prov 3:5-6). And Isaiah 55:8 reminds us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”

We are to be patient in trials – “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:2). Because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:3-4).

We are to be patient with one another – “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). And we do that because He so graciously is patient with us.

Romans 15:5-6 says “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We are to be patient because He is patient with us. Being patient with one another is about reflecting God and bringing Him glory through our actions. So, when you feel your patience slipping, it might coincide with when God is not in the front and centre of your mind. So, talk to Him, bring your focus back to Him and allow the enemy’s attempts to stir you towards anger and anxiety melt away and be replaced with the peace and patience of God.

God Bless

39 thoughts on “The Fruit of the Spirit – Patience

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    1. Thank you, true that everyone looks for a short cut. But patience comes with time with God through the lessons he teaches us and learning from God himself as He is the only one who can keep our hearts at peace when we might want to jump ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Amen Manu. You summed it up perfectly when you said we are to be patient with others because God is patient with us. It is easy to forget just how much mercy He has extended to us when people upset us. But He gives us power to do what pleases Him. ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, He does give us power to do what is right. And so true that it is easy to forget that we are recipients of so much grace and mercy that we do not always live like that.
      Thank you Dawn 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Manu, this post is outstanding and something that I really needed right now. I feel that patience is something that God is trying to teach all of us on a regular basis. And since we are slow to master it, we must keep learning.
    I completely agree with all that you said. And I am trying to hang onto one particular key when it comes to learning patience – We have to turn away from the hurry of this world.
    I especially love what you said about being “doers of the word and not hearers only.” So very true. This really hit home and made me realize that seeking patience is obedience.
    And I appreciate that you looked at how patient the Lord is with us. This truly does put things into perspective. And this helps us to want to be more patient.
    And I really loved what you said about, “Reflecting His patience in an impatient world to those around is an opportunity for us to reflect Christ’s love to others.” Amen! I pray we can be a beautiful reflection of the Lord.
    This season that I have been in has helped me to be more patient in some areas, such as with God’s timing as He works things out. But unfortunately I also see that in other ways I have gotten worse. For example, when a lot of small things crop up, I easily feel impatient. It feels like a lot of pressure all around me.
    Thank you so much for this post. I need to read it over and over in order to help me in this area. Blessings my dear friend!! 💜✝️🙏🙌

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Bridget, it means a lot. I agree, God is trying to teach us patience and when we have to exhibit patient there is growth is trust in Him and handing over complete control to God.
      Oh, I couldn’t agree with you more that turning away from the hurry of the world is so important. Because if we don’t it robs us of times we do not slow down enough to hear Gods still small whispers to us.
      I can feel easily impatient and I relate to you on that regard. I have to work extra hard to not let things get to me.
      Blessings to you my dear friend 🤗💙

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I felt the same as you did when reading the definition of patience. Lol! I fall short in this area of life, but you made a good point that, when that happens, we need to realign our focus on God so that He truly is our focus. I also like what you said about patience not being the same as tolerance. This was such an insightful blogpost. I think I’m going to need to read it several more times to really let these thoughts and the corresponding verses sink further into my mind. Thank you for this!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, so often patience and tolerance gets mixed up and they are not the same.
      May we keep our eyes on the lord when we struggle with patience.
      Thank you so much Colleen 🤗💙

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Manu, I often marvel at how patient the Lord has been with me. I try to be patient, still, and calm, but I am easily distracted by worldly issues and concerns. As you said, if you focus on God, reach out to Him in prayer, the fast-paced anxiety of the world is replaced; with His peace. With peace, you find patience and calm. I am still a work in progress for patience and calmness. Thanks, I am enjoying this series on the Fruits of the Spirit! 💗🌷🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same here with me Jeanne. I try to be patient but find that life issues and concerns can easily rattle me.
      I try to focus on Him every day and have to be very intentional with taking that worry to Him so that I do not continue to function from that place.
      Thank you so much Jeanne 🤗💙

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Manu, it seems everywhere we look these days there’s a need for patience. When I see people making bad choices, I need patience to keep my mouth shut and pray instead of giving unsolicited advice. :/
    As someone who’s a bit ADHD, I find I need patience when things are going slowly, or maybe it seems nothing is happening at all. But then I’ve learned that I also need patience when TOO MUCH is happening at once! I found that out when I had small children and was surrounded by their neediness and no patience of their own yet. – We need to be patient with IMpatient people! God help us. (I’m glad HE’s patient.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Saved this post sister. Patience is NOT my strength! Praise God for His patience with me. All the time God gives me opportunities to practice patience and Manu, I fail miserably! And then I feel really terrible afterward. I pray that I am growing in this area even slightly. I am also encouraged and edified by those who comment on your blog. Love, hugs and blessings!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thankful that we have such a patient and loving God. And in the same measure we have been given we ought to also give to others. Patience isn’t always humanly speaking easy but the Holy Spirit daily helps us to align. 🙌🏼💯

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you Manu. I do struggle a lot with patience. This verse here really spoke to me.

    “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.”

    It speaks to me not only of the mercy and patience God has towards me, but also of those who have yet to know Him and find salvation. This matters to me as most of my family doesn’t know Him. That definitely hits me in the heart. God knows how to give good reminders to lift my gaze.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so glad this spoke to you. He does give us reminders to shift our eyes back to Him and also gives us hope. May the lord work in the hearts of those in your family who do not know Him yet.

      Liked by 1 person

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