I am discovering more and more people who struggle with this thing called patience. While I’m not really the right one to talk about patience (‘cause I got this one down… NOT!), hearing that others struggle with this as well has made me stop and think about what “patience” really means.
Two references of “patience” come quickly to mind: 1 Cor. 13:4, and Gal. 5:22. Two very popular verses. However, I want to examine their context just a little bit more thoroughly.
Gal. 5:22 is the beginning of the list of the fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self – control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong in Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (vs. 22-25)
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit… walk with the Spirit…. remain in the Spirit… bear fruit in the Spirit…
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (Jn. 15:5)
There it is, cut – and – dried. Those who remain in the Spirit, who keep in step with the Spirit, will bear much fruit. And the fruit of the Spirit includes patience.
1 Cor. 13:4 ties directly back to Gal. 5:22 in a sense. Love is patient, love is kind… Love is a fruit of the Spirit. As is patience.
But how does this truly apply to us? Yes, we’re Christians, but we still struggle with patience!
First of all, there is a difference between knowing Christ in your head and knowing Him in your heart. If you simply know Him in your head, you will still be guided by your heart, which does not naturally live according to the Spirit; “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” You may know in your head what is right, but your heart will still be governed by its passions and desires.
However, if you know Christ in your heart, you will have Him as Lord over your life, governing the center of what drives you – your heart. Having a heart ruled by the Lord drives you to seek after Him, leading to a life in the Spirit, and bearing much fruit…
Ultimately, to walk with the Spirit, you need to seek after Him with all your heart, not your head. Real passion, real motivation, real desire, doesn’t come from your head – it comes from your heart.
And walking with the Spirit takes time. It requires you to put forth some effort. You have to invest yourself into walking with the Spirit. But isn’t it worth it? I mean, apart from Him, we can do absolutely nothing.
I’m not veering off – topic. I’m describing how we can have this patience we so desperately need in life. Walk with the Spirit, and you will have patience, along with so much more.
Another thing I’ve noted about patience is that it requires trust. For example, they say to wait on God’s timing. If I don’t trust that God will open doors for me, or that He has a plan for my life far better than my mind can comprehend, etc., how am I supposed to wait patiently on His timing? If I don’t trust that He will do what He has promised to do, how am I supposed to be patiently waiting for Him to fulfill it? If I have patience, I am trusting that He will do whatever He has said He will do, and I can wait with that peace of mind, because I trust Him. If I wait with impatience on Him, I do not have trust in Him that He can or will do what He has promised.
Patience is rarely easy. But sometimes, patience is a test of our faith. How much do we really trust Him? Sometimes, in the technical sense of the phrase, He really does “try our patience”. How you exhibit patience will be evidence of your walk in the Spirit.