Patience is a fruit of the spirit, and there seems to be little of it going around these days. Would you like to know how you can produce this fruit in your own life?
Galatians 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, self-control: against such there is no law.
You don’t need the spirit of God to have patience; many non-Christians have what we call “patience.” But the fruit of the spirit patience is at a different level than human patience, just as the unconditional love of God is far beyond human love. The fruit of the spirit patience is what takes you beyond your human ability to deal with things because it relies on God rather than yourself.
Spiritual fruit indicates quality of life. It’s produced by the spirit of God in an individual. Walking by the spirit is the catalyst that produces spiritual fruit. It’s axiomatic that if you aren’t walking by the spirit of God, you won’t produce much spiritual fruit. Walking by the spirit is the key to producing and abounding in this spiritual patience that endures all things.
Learning to rely on God for all things is your calling as a Christian. God is alive and well and wants the best for your life. Trusting God to do what He says He will is paramount to victorious Christian living. But we are so often caught up in the little things — things that seem to matter immensely at the present time, but in the long-term scale of things, really matter very little. Trusting and relying on God in the little things is a challenge we have to face and grow into. And then there’s the large things… surely we need more patience to handle those.
Let me give you an example of a ‘little’ problem where I lost my patience. It’s confession time!
My mobile phone took a dunk in some unfriendly water and stopped working. I dried it out in a bag of dry rice for a whole day and it still didn’t work. I dried it for another day and still, no power. So I called my provider and got a replacement phone shipped out to me by UPS. I chose and paid for 2nd day delivery so I wouldn’t be unreachable by those I know and love. UPS delivered it on schedule but since I was at work, I couldn’t sign for the package. I leave home at 6 am and get home at 7 pm which is their latest delivery time.
I signed the back of the little slip the UPS person left for me and granted them permission to drop it off at my doorstep without me being there. I came home from work and had another slip on the door, this time telling me I had to be there in person to sign for the package and I had to have a photo-ID before they’d give it to me. Fantastic. Would I have to take a day or half-day off work, resulting in more cost, just so I could receive a package from UPS?
I went online to UPS.com and tracked my shipment. I was given the option to pick up the package (my phone) at the UPS distribution point. There’s a UPS Store within 8 blocks of my home which I could get to easily by walking, so I assumed they would have it at my closest location. Wrong. The distribution point my package was at is an hour and a half away, by bus, from my home. Wonderful!
I called UPS and asked if they could ship it to the UPS Store by where I lived, but they said since I had switched the delivery to a pick up at their distribution point they couldn’t change it. What? They can’t change the shipment because I said I wanted to pick it up at their distribution point? How could that be? Have they no control over their own computer system?
Needless to say, I was very upset. I felt like screaming at the UPS phone representative but held back. I did question why they couldn’t make a simple redirection like the one I requested, but the answer I got was unsatisfactory. They refused to change it, claiming they couldn’t. But they told me that if I gave them my phone number the delivery person would call me and I ‘might be able to arrange something else.’ I reminded her I didn’t have a phone because they were delivering it to me. That didn’t change a thing. Rather than argue, I slammed the phone down in disgust.
So what caused me to slam down the phone back into it’s cradle? My lack of patience did. I had been very patient up to that point, but their refusal to make the delivery easier for me took me over the tipping point. Lack of patience is what caused me to slam the phone down, but what caused that? Lack of trust in God. That’s right. That’s the bottom line in this and in most situations we face.
You may think this is a ridiculous example, but it illustrates the point exactly. This is a ‘small thing’ in the grand scheme of life. It’s certainly a small thing to God. But I exalted the problem and my inability to handle above God, rather than asking God for a solution.
Patience Asks God for a Solution and Expects an Answer
Had I been more patient, I would have stayed calm as I asked God for a solution to my dilemma. I did this a few minutes later and He showed me two alternatives. One was to call a friend who has a car for a ride after I got home from work (he UPS distribution point is open until 8:30 pm, I got home about 7 pm). The other solution was to take a bus from work to UPS and take a bus from there home. Granted, this would take a full 2 1/2 hours rather than my normal 1 1/2 hours, and I’d have to walk a mile from the distribution point to the next bus pickup point, but it was a feasible solution and the one I chose since I didn’t want to bother my friend at that time of night.
There are many things we can become impatient over. I’m one of the most patient people those who know me have ever met, and I’m not getting that from myself but from what I’ve been told repeatedly over the years. Several times I’ve been told, “You have the patience of Job.” But I blew it with the UPS delivery issue. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can get under our skins the most. But godly, fruit of the spirit patience overcomes all those less significant things and all the most significant things as well.
Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again: but the wicked shall fall by calamity.
What do you do when you see you’ve fallen short? Proverbs tells us to get up again. Start anew with a fresh attitude: sport an attitude that trusts God and believes all things are possible through God. I picked myself back up immediately, confessed my sin and moved on. Never again will a UPS shipment steal my joy due to my impatience. I’ve learned once again to trust the living God who is my Father.
Patience will get you through where you and others have failed. You may be impatient over something small like my UPS delivery, or over something much more significant such as someone you’re speaking to about Christ who doesn’t seem to be getting it. No matter how small or large, God is there and He can bridge the gaps where people, including yourself, fail. Walk by the spirit and produce the spiritual fruit of patience and see better results in your life.
They say patience is a virtue, but the Bible tells us it’s a fruit of the spirit. All those are virtuous!