Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8

Patience is the result of understanding God’s patience for us. Think about how patient he is with us. The Bible is full of examples of the Israelites being impatient and disobedient, repeatedly. God is so patient with them.

YES he punishes our sin- he sent his own son to die for us! But he is patient in working with us to become more like Christ. As we meditate on the gospel, we can learn how to wait for God, and be content with HIS timing and how He is working in our lives.

Isaiah 65:24 says “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear”. God knows what we need before we know. He WILL take care of us. Job is an example of patience. So are many of the prophets. Psalm 103 is another example of God’s patience with us.

An earthly example of patience is a farmer. He plants his seeds, and works very hard until the time is right for a harvest- this takes time. We like immediate gratification, but that is not how our spiritual life works! Remember, Hebrews 12:1-2 says our spiritual walk is like a race that needs endurance, but that we fix our eyes on Jesus. James 5:11 says that those who remain steadfast are considered blessed.

Once we understand God’s patience with us, we can think about being patient with others. This is so hard to do, but our passage in James tells us not to grumble against one another. In verse 9 we are reminded that God is judge; this can help us be patient when others wrong us. God is the judge; we can be content as he works in the life of others just as we can be content as he works in our lives.

So what is the artificial fruit? Laziness and insensitivity. Don’t mistake those for patience. Remember- patience is not self-serving. Patience is not bitter resignation, not for our own gain. It is longsuffering. And guess what the “weed” is? Yep- impatience. I think it is easy to see how this chokes patience out!

As we are focusing on the gospel to remind us of patience, also remember that because of the gospel, our sin is forgiven, and Christ helps us put it to death- “weed the garden” so to speak. I don’t know who wrote it, but I love the verse that goes: “Have patience, have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry. Remember, remember that God has patience too, and think of all the times when others have to wait for you.” Such a good reminder!

Where can you have more patience in your life?

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