Jesus was a very patient person. He remained at the center of God’s will during his whole life on the Earth. Faith, hope and love enabled him to remain in line with his divine mission not caring what or who He had to face along the way. Paul prayed that this fruit would enable the believer’s in Thessalonica to remain firm while others were falling and straying away:
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5)
James tells us that patience perfects character:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
The false fruit of patience
Patience is not a fatalistic attitude. Fatalism tells us that whatever will be, will be, and there is nothing that we can do about it. There is no hope or sense of responsibility in this type of attitude. Patience is not a desperate resignation through which we give up and yield to everything and to everyone.
Patience is not a passive or inactive mental attitude that directs us to “smile, swallow hard and put up with it”. This type of attitude has no plan, does not seek to correct the past or alter the present. These are false ideas about patience.
The true fruit of patience
The Greek word that refers to patience is macrothumia, which literally means long tempered – where temperament refers to a calm and controlled mental state. Sometimes we say that people are temperamental or that they lose or keep their calm.
In both the Septuagint and the New Testament, much divine meaning has been attached to this word through its use. It refers to the patience of God, which is slow to wrath and full of mercy toward humanity. However, in his patience, God does not just simply wait. He is also seeking to bring revival to repentant sinners and perfection in Christ to Christians. This is patience with a purpose. God works while he waits!
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. (1 Timothy 1:15, 16)
Jesus was very patient with all of his disciples. He waited patiently for them to respond to his message of life and truth, however, while He waited, He also carefully but firmly worked with them in their weaknesses.
Patience means that we wait in faith, hope and love so that God can do his will in a given situation. These situations involve people, places and events. We can be patient however assured by the fact that God makes all things work together for the fulfillment of his good will in Christ Jesus.
God grants us the strength of patience so that we can stand firm when He uses severe problems and difficulties to test his call over our lives. God never gives up on his purposes for our lives. Therefore, we also should never give up!
We must develop this fruit in our lives if we want our ministry to have the maximum value possible for the Lord in these important coming days. We must exercise patience through the Lord’s dealings in our lives. We must exercise patience with others, and even with ourselves. In the end, God’s patience produces a godly perfection.
Paul sums this up with the following words:
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Colossians 3:12, 13)
The rotten fruit of the flesh
It is good for us to know that God has a remedy for impatience. All of us have reacted to people and situations much faster and more violent than we should have.
This generally happens when we become irritated and frustrated. When we become very irritated, we prove how much we are sensitive to everything around us. Any little insignificant thing bothers us too much. We tend to overly exaggerate our reaction to trials and testing and we act in ways that are not characteristic of Christ.
Frustration is the feeling of abandonment that we have when we are in a difficult situation that we cannot change. The only change that we can make is in our attitude. It is at this point that God wants to give us the great grace of patience.
There is power in the fruit of patience. It is the power of waiting on God while we are waiting for men. This power can elevate us above irritations and frustrations of life.
Patience flows from our faith in the power, the purpose and the promise of God. He planned and promised to produce the life of his son in all situations of our daily lives.
For this reason, it is not necessary to be afraid to pray for patience. Patience is a quality of the life of Christ that the Father is ready to supply us with through the power of his Holy Spirit. Its seed is already in our hearts ready to grow when we need it most.