22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25
Recently I’ve heard several people express expectations of themselves regarding this word, patience … expectations that they should have been able to will themselves to be patient and they had failed at it. In this study the distinction is made between “endurance” in difficult circumtances and “patience” with difficult people. The word used in this passage in Galatians is the latter. The difference might be more clear in comparing being able to endure a tough day at work, school or home knowing the day will eventually end in relief, to being patient with one of those irregular, difficult people in your life who may never go away, with no promise of relief.
People are always more important than circumstances.
In our own strength, we aren’t capable of pleasing God. Our sin separates us from Him. God’s holiness calls for justice. He delays judgment waiting for us to fall in step with Him. In fact, if it wasn’t for God’s great mercy toward us, we wouldn’t live to see another day. When we get even a glimpse of God’s mercy and what it keeps us from, we can more easily see the need to allow the Holy Spirit to release patience through us toward other redeemed mercy recipients around us.
Beth says, “Patience is the release of the fruit of the Spirit; it is the supernatural outcome of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Patience is impossible except when expressed by God through us.”
There will always be trying people. We can’t put ourselves in a little Christian bubble and expect to reflect patience. With our desire to be more like our Savior, we need the bumping of shoulders with others to bring out the worst in ourselves so it can be dealt with. I love this Beth quote: “The practice of patience helps complete something lacking in us.” Wow. We don’t always have to be right, don’t always have to win, don’t always have to escalate. There will always be conflict but this gives me hope that it IS possible to bump shoulders with another and refrain from lashing out impatiently … not by willing it to be but by allowing the Holy Spirit to flow freely through me.