God’s fruit of patience
Patience is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that enables us to persevere under pressure. Patience maintains the virtues of love, joy, and peace when faced with the pressures of wrong, mistreatment, or taxation. When pressed, patience does not retaliate but rather addresses the underlying motivations of the soul. By His fruit of patience, the Holy Spirit moves us to look to Jesus for strength, giving us the ability to forbear in circumstances that would otherwise deplete our resolve.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.Colossians 3:12–13 NLT
The clothes we are to put on are tailor-made to fit our lives by the Spirit. Dressed in His power, we are divinely enabled to accomplish the task He asks us to undertake. We cannot create our own style of patience; instead, we are to put on His personally designed and custom-fitted attire. The royal garments of the King identify our position of servitude apart from personal ambition. We exhibit patience because He empowers us to do so, not because we have created it ourselves for our purpose.
Counterfeit patience exerts control
When we attempt to counterfeit the Holy Spirit’s line of designer clothing, our wardrobe quickly fills with costumes of control. With masks of all shapes and sizes, we create the illusion that we are in control and are capable of controlling all that is around us. But inevitably, life is a process of losing control. Even though our patience is so often taxed and love, joy, and peace seem unattainable, we still choose to strategically control all aspects of our lives. We believe we can have patience when our expectations are being met. Therefore, the desire of the controlling heart is to guarantee a favorable outcome, maintaining self-interest, pleasure, and comfort through manipulation and exploitation of people, positions, and possessions.
Control must not be stereotyped as mean, hateful, angry, or limited to an aspect of gender, age, or population group. Control may be a little old grandmother who is terrified of one of her grandchildren getting hurt, so she seeks to use guilt, shame, and fear to limit their activities. Control may be an abusive husband who threatens to harm the wife if she tells anyone about the abuse. Control may be a rebellious teenager who climbs out the window at night to rendezvous with his choice of defiant activities. Control may be seen in homes, businesses, or even pulpits. If we are not living by the power of God, we are most certainly seeking to supply our own control.
Frustration is the result of the counterfeit fruit of patience.
Even though we try to control what we are incapable of controlling, we continue striving only to end in frustration. When we can’t get what we want and want more than we have, the dissatisfaction motivates temper tantrums. After all, “I deserve what I want”; “I should be able to have what I want”; “You should give me what I want.” Our self-centered world will inevitably come crashing down.
Is this the Spirit’s fruit of patience or counterfeit patience?
Here’s a case study for you to consider. Do you see any controlling behaviors in this example? Who got frustrated? Why?
Patrick Perfect decided it was time for his son to learn the manly art of mowing the yard. He had always prided himself in his specialized method of mowing the lawn, and neighbors, as well as passers-by, commented on what a neat appearance their yard always had. This was an important heritage to pass to his son, Pete.
Patrick was confident that Pete had already gleaned all the essential details of mowing the lawn because he was now a teenager and had seen the perfectly manicured lawn for 13 years! So when Patrick left for work, he charged Pete with the honor of mowing the yard. As he left for his day at the office, a growing sense of pride welled up within him; he knew that Pete would be a shining star in his father’s crown.
Patrick’s pride lacked patience.
But when Patrick returned from work that evening, horror gripped his heart when he pulled into the driveway! The yard looked like a corn maze!! And hay was piled in lumps in inconceivable locations! What happened to the perfectly aligned diagonal rows that had characterized the Perfect home? Why were there sprigs of grass scattered all across the sidewalk? Why could Pete not just mow the grass the way it was supposed to be?
Patrick stormed into the house and yanked the headset from Pete’s ears. With a barrage of explicatives and accusations, Patrick towed his son to the front porch to view his catastrophe that was laid bare for the world to see.
Dad anguished. “How could I have trusted you with such an important task??”
Pete answered, “Dad, I mowed the grass like you asked! What more did you want?”
Be filled with the Spirit’s fruit of patience.
Solomon admonished, “Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NASB). Therefore, Paul advised, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace” (Ephesians 4:2–3 NLT). The ability to accomplish this mission only comes through patience supplied by the fruit of the Spirit when we let go of our control and its resulting frustration. Patience is also an example of bearing with one another in love that only comes as we are enabled by God. But if you find yourself experiencing the symptom of frustration, consider what means of control you are employing to counterfeit God’s fruit of patience.
Ask for God’s Spirit to help you with patience using this Prayer Pattern.
Lord, I need Your help to be humble and gentle. I need the fruit of Your Spirit to enable me to be patient with others, allowing for their faults because of my love for them that comes from You. Guide me in making every effort to keep us united in Your Spirit as we bind ourselves together in peace.based on Ephesians 4:2–3
Here are some journaling questions for you to process as you consider the fruit of the Spirit, which is patience.
- What have I been trying to control?
- What were the results?
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Are there other times you have seen control take over when God’s purposes could have been better accomplished by allowing the Holy Spirit to evidence His fruit of patience? We’d love to hear your story. Leave a COMMENT below, or send us your story of how you have experienced the Spirit’s fruit of patience.
Excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis.
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