But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . PATIENCE . . . (Gal. 5: 22)
Patience … also known as long-suffering! Going back to the Greek makrothumia, patience is the quality of a person to have forbearance even under provocation, slowness in avenging wrongs. So it’s not talking about a person’s disposition to grin and bear it while waiting in the line at the supermarket, sitting in traffic on I-10, or the hundreds of other situations we find ourselves in on a daily basis. Instead, this type of patience takes the Holy Spirit working it out in our lives. It’s restraining from “getting back” at the hurts and burdens and weaknesses of the people around us. For me, this is one of the most difficult gift to claim. Yet, how patient has God been with me? How many times has He picked me up and lovingly disciplined me, even when I didn’t think I needed rescuing or when I didn’t want to be rescued. He waited for me.
True patience, real patience doesn’t last for just a few minutes… the fruit patience grows best over time. True patience is not agitation or frustration. It is not my pride, my anger, my selfishness, my judgment, those things of the flesh which want to keep a strong hold on me. These are enemies of patience.
When I find the joy in having opportunities to grow patience instead of having those grumbling, mumblings (be them either under my breath or said out loud!), I feel my heart softening and I find mercy ~ Mercy, just like He has shown me time and time again!