SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (November 16, 2013)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” Galatians 5:22-26.
“SINCE WE LIVE BY THE SPIRIT, LET US KEEP IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT” Galatians 5:25 (NIV).
In today’s edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we will focus on another aspect of the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT as we find in Galatians 5:22. So far we have looked at LOVE, JOY AND PEACE. I am learning a lot from these series of teachings and I pray that the Holy Spirit will make them meaningful and helpful to you as well. Let us now turn our attention to PATIENCE as a Christian virtue. We should remind ourselves that there is ONLY FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT and PATIENCE is an aspect of it.
According to the Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia Patience of Longsuffering is THE STATE OF ENDURANCE UNDER DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES, WHICH CAN MEAN PERSEVERING IN THE FACE OF DELAY OR PROVOCATION WITHOUT ACTING ON ANNOYANCE/ ANGER IN A NEGATIVE WAY. It is also described as the exhibition of forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with long-term difficulties. In his commentary on the Bible, John Gill also describes PATIENCE as:
“The bearing and enduring of present evils with joyfulness, being strengthened by the Spirit with all might, according to his glorious power; being slow to anger, ready to forgive injuries, put up with affronts, and bear with, and forbear one another: and which is usually accompanied with gentleness, humanity, affability, courteousness, shown both in words, gestures, and actions; in imitation of the gentleness of Christ, and agreeably to that wisdom, that heavenly doctrine of the Gospel, which, among other things, is said to be gentle, and easy to be entreated.”
It means that Patience is a more difficult virtue to cultivate yet it is a virtue every Christian needs to demonstrate. It is very easy to demonstrate patience when everything is going is going on well with us. However it is not so easy to be patient when things are moving in the opposite direction to our expectation. The Christian’s patience is tested when we go through difficulties. How we endure or handle difficult situations in life shows how much patience we have as believers. For instance, a Christian’s patience is tested when we are cut off by another vehicle when we are in a hurry driving. Most of the time, we fail because of the bad language we use when other drivers drive in ways that tend to delay us or put our lives in some kind of danger. What we do when others use bad language toward us or provoke us in some ways also shows how patient or impatient we are.
In the Bible, we are told to run with perseverance (patience) the race that is marked for us. This means that we must make that effort to endure hardships as we walk with Christ. This is very important because many people who demonstrated patience are praised in the Bible. Those who are patient persevere towards a goal, endure trials or expectantly wait for a promise to be fulfilled. According to James 5:10 the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord faced suffering but remained patient and that should be an example for us. Remember what Elijah, Jeremiah and the others hard to go through because of their relationship with God. James 5:11 also mentions Job whose patience was rewarded by what the Lord finally brought about in his life. He received double for all his sufferings because he was PATIENT.
We can also mention Abraham who after “WAITING PATIENTLY RECEIVED WHAT WAS PROMISED” (Hebrews 6:15). We can add to the list of those who remained patient in the Bible and were eventually rewarded. This shows that TRUE PATIENCE WILL BE REWARDED AT THE END OF THE DAY.
In James 1:4 we are told that:
“PERSEVERANCE MUST FINISH ITS WORK SO THAT YOU MAY BE MATURE AND COMPLETE NOT LACKING ANYTHING.”
We all need to understand that sometimes God allows trials in our lives just to test our patience. Sometimes he also allows trails for the sanctification of our character or to make us witnesses to his good things. In times of those trials we should always remember that His purpose is for our growth and His glory will help us in the trial. It is important to remember his promises such as we find in Romans 8:28 which says that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. THE “ALL THINGS” IN Romans 8:28 INCLUDE THE THINGS THAT TRY OUR PATIENCE. We should not sin even when are patience is tried (Hebrews 4:15).
The lack of patience as a virtue in the lives of many believers has led them into more difficult situations than the ones they wanted to escape from. Many people who could not wait for God’s timing before getting married have regretted. They thought they were getting too old or all their age mates were getting married so they also had to get married, only to be married to the wrong partners. Some are enduring such difficult marriages while some have ended up divorcing. But probably if they had exercised a bit more patience, it might not have been the same. This is not to say that having difficulties in marriages should always be attributed to the lack of patience-FAR FROM THAT! Sometimes trials in our marriages may be allowed by God. What am praying for is that those who are not married will learn to be patient in order not to regret in the near future.
Some people have also been impatient when it comes to issues concerning money. Instead of waiting upon God for his blessings, people who are impatient use several dubious means to make money. Some people steal at gun point, or trade in drugs or even kill in order to make money. Some others also ‘sell their bodies’ in order to make money. They forget that silver and gold belong to the Lord. It is true that God MAY NOT bring us the money we need to pay our bills or buy food or pay school fees as soon as we ask; sometimes it may take far longer than expected. But in all these we should trust that all things will work for our good. If we understand God’s word this way, we shall be patient enough to wait for his right timing for him to bless us. Persevering under such situations shows how patient we are. We should never allow the hardships we face in life to force us into sin. We are to be like our MASTER JESUS when we are faced with difficulties in life. We should learn to be patient in all things just as the farmer who depends on natural rain for his or her crops to grow does. In times of hardships we should always remember Hebrews 12:2-3:
“LET US FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS, THE AUTHOR SAND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH, WHO FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, SCORNING ITS SHAME, AND SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. CONSIDER HIM WHO ENDURED SUCH OPPOSITION FROM SINFUL MEN, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT GROW WEARY AND LOSE HEART.”
I do not know what you may be going through as a believer. It may be sicknesses, financial challenges, marital challenges, relationship problems, child-bearing or rearing challenges, ministerial and many others I cannot mention here. What I know however is that our God knows what you are going through and will ensure it will all end for your good. Let us therefore ask for more of his grace to be able to endure all those difficulties without sinning against God or taking any hasty decisions we may regret later in our lives. Let us learn to wait patiently for the Lord in all our difficult moments and he will turn to us and hear our cry (Psalm 40:1).
Isaiah 40:31 (AMP Version) says:
“BUT THOSE WHO WAIT FOR THE LORD [WHO EXPECT, LOOK FOR, AND HOPE IN HIM] SHALL CHANGE AND RENEW THEIR STRENGTH AND POWER; THEY SHALL LIFT THEIR WINGS AND MOUNT UP [CLOSE TO GOD] AS EAGLES [MOUNT UP TO THE SUN]; THEY SHALL RUN AND NOT BE WEARY, THEY SHALL WALK AND NOT FAINT OR BECOME TIRED.”
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.