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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)
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We’ve all heard a joke that goes something like this…. “A pediatrician was finishing up a long, busy day in his office, dealing with obnoxious parents and their unruly children. As he walked past the front desk, he muttered to his head nurse, “I need patience, more patience.” His nurse, with a shocked expression on her face, said… “But doctor, our schedule is full through the end of next month, how can we fit them in?”
Every one of us have days similar to this doctor’s day. A day filled with frustration and anxiety is inevitable for us all. How do we get through such a day? We use something called “patience.”
Patience seems to be in short supply in today’s society. Why do I say this? Just stand in a checkout line at a store, or sit at a railroad crossing waiting for a long train to pass, listening to the comments of others, and you will see the shortage of patience in today’s society.
What is really sad is that even though many of us see the need for more patience, the development of that patience is far easier said than done. So what are we to do? God’s Word addresses the need, the source, and the acquisition of patience for our lives….
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The term “longsuffering” in Galatians 5:22 is translated “patience” thirty-three times in the New Testament. The word comes from a Greek word that means “to bear long under”.
Picture a pack mule carrying his owner’s possessions on his back. As his master places item after item on his back, his burden becomes increasing heavy to bear. Instead of kicking off the burden, the mule stands there bearing the load and allowing his master to place more weight on his back. This is the perfect picture of this Greek word translated “longsuffering” or “patience”.
This mule is “bearing long under” his burdens. He is patiently holding them up on his back, even when there is no sign of the burden decreasing. This is exactly what we need today. It is the ability to bear up under the difficulties in life, without flinching or fighting, simply accepting the difficulties and continuing on.
Where do we find such a gift of patience? Our verses tell us that longsuffering (patience) comes from the working of the Holy Spirit of God in the lives of followers of Christ.
Think of Christ’s patience that He has exercised for us…
“(Christ) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Pe 2:22-24)
Think of the patience it took for Christ to go through with His crucifixion. Please remember, Christ WILLINGLY partook of death for us. (John 10:17-18) He willingly allowed His body to be bruised and His life to be taken. And with His last breath a message of love, and patience, was declared… “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. What an amazing Lord, setting a perfect example of patience for all of us to follow.
But how do we develop patience in our lives? If you are like me, you won’t like the answer, but here it is…
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (Jas 1:3-4)
For the Christian, the development of patience is brought about through the trying of our faith.
As we face trials in our life, we may ask God the question “Why me, dear Lord?” Here, we find one answer (of many) to our “Why me?” question. The Lord allows trials in our life to help us to develop patience in our lives. The next time we face a trial, we should stop and think… this is an opportunity for me to develop patience and, eventually, be spiritually mature and lack nothing (see James 1:4).
For those who have never trusted in Christ… the first step towards living a patient life is looking in faith to the One who is so very patient with all of us. Our Lord is so patient, He allows us to live a life of rebellion and sin, and yet does not turn His back on us. He promises, no matter what we have done in our life, He will not “cast us out” if we come to Him through His Father’s grace. (John 6:37).
Paul, who was self-described as the “chief of sinners”, was saved when He came to Christ for salvation. Salvation is available to all who come to Him without any limitation to nationality, gender, or most importantly, past history of sin. Peter knew this when he wrote…“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pe 3:9) Won’t you trust in Christ to save you before it is too late?
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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.
Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”