But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Over the last few weeks I have looked at the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy and peace. Now I will be looking at forbearance or patience. The NIV translates the word as forbearance, while many other translations translate it as patience. Both carry the meaning of holding up under pressure or during trouble without anger, anxiety, or frustration.
Patience is something that is not often seen in this fallen world. Things cannot happen fast enough. No matter how fast something is, in a short time people want it to be faster.
Take a look at computers and how fast they are today compared to forty years ago and yet, people complain that they are not fast enough. Or look at the speed of driving down the road. Regardless of how high the speed limit is, there are some who will drive faster.
The patience in these situations are just with things. People are also lacking in patience when it comes to life situations. Promotions do not come fast enough, someone does not return a text or phone call fast enough, a person is not checking out fast enough, and the list goes on indefinitely.
Others are also not patient with themselves. They did not learn fast enough, they did not change fast enough. They were not successful enough or some other fault that they see in themselves.
For many believers a lack of patience is found in waiting for a person to change a habit or for God to answer a prayer.
In all of these ways and many more people are not patient.
The bible is filled with examples of people who were patient and those who were not patient. Joseph was given a vision of him being a ruler. Before that came about he was thrown into slavery and into prison. But after many years of patience, he became the second in power over Egypt, only under Pharaoh.
David was anointed to be the next king of Israel. He had to run for his life for many years before he became king. He had multiple opportunities to seize the throne, but he would not take it by force. David waited for God to hand it to him. He waited in patience for God to move.
Job went through may trials and a lot of loss in his life. Yet, he waited patiently for God to restore him and stop the trials. He refused to curse God in his struggles, even when he did not understand what was going on or why it was happening.
The ultimate example of patience is Jesus:
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2b-3
The ‘enduring’ in these verses is patience. It is putting up with trouble and keep going forward without anger or frustration.
Jesus had taken on the all the sin of every person for all time and the anger of God the Father’s wrath against that sin so that you and I could have forgiveness and life. As He did that, He did not complain or murmur. He took with patience and love.
Now with describing patience from the bible and examples of how patience was displayed, what does that mean for you and I?
Good thing you asked! We are to live our lives just as Jesus lived His…with patience. So what does that look like?
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9
If one is patient, he will not be quickly provoked to anger. In other words he will not get angry when someone does something wrong or does not change like he thinks they should.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
It takes a lot of patience to keep doing what is good and right. This is especially true if the person who you are doing good to is not grateful or despises you. Be patient because there is a reward for you from God if you do not give up.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
God is love and we are to be like God—love. Everything that we say and do or do not say or do not do must be done out of love for God and for others. When we have the enduring perfect love of God in our hearts, we WILL be patient with ourselves and with others.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
When you are anxious about anything, you are not at peace. Something is wrong and you are worried about it and striving to change it. Instead of being anxious bring it to God with thanksgiving and allow Him to deal with it and guide you through the situation. Relax and be at peace about it, rather than uptight and anxious. God is in control, let Him be.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
You will have afflictions, sicknesses and problems, Jesus promised that you will have trouble. Be patient. It will not last forever, though it may feel like it at the moment. Hold on and be patient because God is in control and is bringing you through the situation.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7
People will do wicked things. Good people in the church will do mean things or wrong things. Be patient and wait for God to move. Don’t forget God is in control of every situation. He sees what is going on. Be patient as you wait for Him to take care of the situation.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
You do have faults, but God is working on you to fix them. He is building you into the image of Jesus. Do not be so harsh and impatient with yourself, but keep moving forward in Jesus with His Holy Spirit growing and changing daily. God will finish the work in you He set out to do. Be patient with yourself.
There are many other verses throughout the bible that talk about patience. Take the time to look them all up.
Seek God in learning to have the patience that the Holy Spirit can bring into your life. In order to get it, remember that you will have to go through some tough struggles challenging your patience. You cannot learn patience without a struggle against it. People and situations will challenge you.
Satan does not want you to be patient, but to blow your top and get angry, causing you to say and do things that are sinful. He wants you to fail and he will do what he can to bring that about.
Hold onto God and be led by His Holy Spirit and you will have patience.
When you are bearing His fruit of love, you will have joy. When you are bearing the fruit of joy, you will have peace. When you are bearing the fruit of peace, you will have patience or forbearance. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and bear His fruit. It is worth.
Thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Please feel free to share this with someone who can use it. Any comments or thoughts will be appreciated.
Next week I will be looking at kindness. I hope to see you then.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25
Being concerned what someone else is thinking or can do is a common fear that many people have. They are more worried about what someone may think, then is necessary.
When that fear is high enough, one will be trapped into doing what the other person wants. Some will make poor choices based off of their fear of someone else. The more poor choices are made, the more entangled in a web does the person get.
Living like this does not bring peace or comfort. As time goes along the snare gets tighter and tighter, destroying one’s life.
Solomon had recognized that one cannot fear man without getting trapped in a snare. Yet, he also knew that in order to be safe, all one had to do is trust in God.
People will take advantage of those who fear them. They will make the one who fears do things that is not wanted or desired. Selfishness will rise up and cause the fear to increase in another.
Ultimately destruction will come about. Those feared will keep rising up in power, seizing what they can.
Those who do not fear man, but trust in God will not be trapped in the snare. They will be kept safe. God will open their eyes to see the reality that is around them. They will be able to see the snares that have been placed in front of them and walk a different path.
God does not want His people to walk in fear, but in trust, knowing that He is in control. The path that God leads His people on is one that will build up and not destroy. It is a path that leads them towards eternal life, rather then temporary happiness and death.
There will be people in your life at times who appear to be in control. They will appear to be the one calling the shots in your life. Do not fear them. They are temporary and leading down the wrong path.
Put all of your trust in God, knowing that He is in control. The things that man can do are only temporary and can do no real harm to you.
You have a choice to make as to who you will fear and follow. Do you want a snare that is dangerous or do you want life and safety?
I pray today that you will trust in God; that God will help you to not fear any person; that God will open your eyes to the snares around you; that God will lift you out of any snares you may be in; and that God will keep you safe from any harm.
But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. Psalm 106:13
There are some things that people love to remember and there are some things that people love to forget. Some of those things people will always remember, while some things they will forget very quickly.
Remembering the bad or negative things occurs easily for most people. The majority of people can remember some horrible experiences that had occurred twenty, thirty, forty years ago as though it was yesterday. They were traumatized to the point they cannot forget what happened or they play it over and over in their mind and words for decades in bitterness and anger.
Often in light of the negative, people forget what was good during that time. They refuse to see or remember what good things had occurred before, during and after a bad time.
The psalmist talks about when the Israelites were in the desert, they would quickly forget what God had already done for them. They refused to wait for Him to meet their needs in His way and time.
Thousands of years later many believers are still having that problem. They have seen God provide miraculously for them, but forget about it and begin to worry and complain. They forget to remember how God has met their needs in the past.
As a believer forgets what God has done, he will worry and fear. Often he will take things into his own hands and step out of God’s will and into sin. He will often turn to the ways of the world, rather than trusting God.
Every believer must remember what God has done and will do. This will keep his faith in God up and help remove all fear and worry.
There will be times when you do not see God moving in your life quickly or in your time and way. It is at these times that you must not forget what God has already done in your past.
Before you begin to worry and fear, take a moment to count how many times God has blessed you and how He has blessed and met your needs in the past. Hold on to those memories of God’s great provision and trust that He will continue His hand of provision in your life.
Do not allow yourself to fall into the ways of this world with fear and worry. But rest in God’s abilities and timing by never forgetting Him.
I pray today that you will know what God has done for you; that you will never forget what God has done; that you will trust God’s love for you; and that you will wait on God to meet all of your needs in His way and time.
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Psalm 37:1-2
Doing evil and promoting evil is prevalent in society, no matter where one goes. A person cannot get away from seeing evil being done around him, regardless of where he is at. The reason for this is that this is a fallen world. Man has fallen away from God and does his own thing.
The eyes of man has been blinded as to what is good and true. Being blind has caused man to continue to sin and not only sin, but to encourage others to sin even more.
As this has occurred, many believers have begun to worry or fret about it. In their worry over those who sin, some have done things that have not been Christ-like. They strike in anger to stop the sin or speak condemning words with no love attached.
During his life, David had a lot of people doing evil and were against him. He realized that he does not have to worry about it, because those who do evil are there only for a short time. In the end they will die.
While a believer must never accept or promote evil, he also should not get angry and strike because of evil. As soon as he strikes in anger, he is becoming like them. Others will worry and fret over the rise of evil actions going on around them. Jesus said not to worry about anything. Worry is a sin.
Believers must show a loving example of who Jesus is to the world. They must be an example of what the better life is, how life can be fulfilling and full of joy without sin.
You most likely see a lot of sin going on around you. You may see it rising higher and higher all the time. It can cause fear and worry in your life, if your focus is not upon God.
Do not forget that God is in control. Jesus promised that things would get worse as time went along. The world does not know Jesus and does not know how to live life correctly. Do not worry about it, but be His shining light in this world.
Ask God to show you how to touch the lives of the lost. They are here only for a short time. Work to bring them to Jesus, rather than fight them.
I pray today that you will see God in control; that God will remove all fear of evil around you; that you will be a witness of Jesus to this world; and that God will change many lives through you.