We have often heard it said, “Patience is a virtue.” Well, patience is something we all need, but it is something with which we all struggle. Nobody enjoys being patient. On the other hand, everyone appreciates a patient person.
Here are some comments I’ve heard – “I thought I’ve already learned patience. Can’t God get on with something else?” Or, “Why does He keep putting me into situations where I have to be patient? Doesn’t He know that I’m really tired of doing that?!”
Well, like a lot of other things, we learn patience so we can use it. It’s not something a person learns and then never has to use anymore. It seems like most everything in life demands some degree of patience. It is one of the essential qualities of life.
In Galatians 5:22-23 we are told about what the Spirit-controlled life is all about. These verses say, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering…” The fourth quality mentioned in this list of the fruit of the Spirit is “longsuffering.”
The word “longsuffering” actually means “patience,” which is why the NAS , the ESV, and the NIV all translate it that way. Actually, this is another one of those Greek compound words with the word “long” attached to the word for passion. “Long passion” is the idea that it takes a long time before you get angry – before you are filled with fierce passion.
So a person who doesn’t become angry or irritated right away is a person who suffers long. A person who is longsuffering, or who is patient. Now that’s the way God wants His people to be. He wants us to be patient with our children whenever they get on our nerves. He wants us to be patient with our spouse when he or she lets us down. We are to be patient with circumstances when things aren’t going well, and patient in the mundane things of life (we need to be a patient driver, patient when we stand in line at the check-out). We should be a patient patient when the healing process is slow, and so on.
So, remember, a Spirit-filled Christian is a patient Christian, because one of the fruits of the Spirit is longsuffering.
Hey — Patience is an attribute that we will always need as long as we live and breathe. You can count on it!