Fruits of the Holy Spirit – Patience

88/365 days of blogging.

Pt. 4 The Fruit of the Spirit is “Patience”

Introduction: Galatians 5:22 tells us that another fruit of the Spirit is patience. I have lots of things to do and I do not like to waste my time unless the goal of my activity is to relax and “waste” time. How about you? Do you see pointless wasting of your time as a gift from God? What if we told you that “longsuffering” is another way to translate this word patience. Do you want to be suffering? While doing more research on what the Bible really meant by “patience,” what was found were texts on endurance. The New Bible Dictionary defines patience as “restraint in the face of opposition or oppression.” That sounds like a cross between suffering and endurance, rather than wasting time. Let’s see and learn more about God has in mind with the gift of patience!

 

  1.          God and Patience
    1. Read Exodus 34:5-7. Is being “slow to anger” a form of patience? (Biblical word studies reveals that the Hebrew words mean “longsuffering.” Thus, what God is saying about Himself is very much like the “patience” described as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.)
      1. Something very important is being said in Exodus 34:6. Notice that when God describes Himself, “slow to anger” is the third term He uses, and He places it before love. Is being slow to anger more important than love?
      2. As you consider the context, in what way is God slow to anger? In what way is He patient?
        1. What do you see as a benefit in that?
      3. Most of us think this way: frankly, I was less concerned about God giving you a break about your sins. If God shows patience towards your sins, am I also required to show patience towards your sins?
        1. Should I consider it a virtue to be longsuffering (suffer long!) because of your sins towards me?
      4. We all understand why we want God to show some patience with us when we sin. But, why should He? What point is served by waiting?
      5. Read Joel 2:13 and 2 Peter 3:8-9. Why do Joel and Peter suggest that we should turn from our sins?
  2.     You and Patience
    1. God is patient with us. Great! So, what reason do we have to be patient with others?
      1. Think about this for a minute. What kinds of sins has God forgiven you? Compare your sins with the sins of those who test your patience?
      2. Does this requirement apply to parents in dealing with their children? With children in dealing with their parents?
    2. Read Romans 15:5. What reason does this text give us for being patient (showing endurance) with our fellow Christians? (Unity. Being longsuffering helps to promote unity.)
      1. Have you ever met a Christian (or non-Christian) who is determined to point out the sins of others?
      2. How do you like it when fellow church members point out your sins?
    3. Read Ephesians 4:1-3. Paul reinforces what we just learned: that our goal of unity in the church is promoted by being patient and “bearing with one another in love.” However, Paul adds a new idea. He writes of being humble and gentle. What do humility and gentleness have to do with patience?
      1. How many Christians “correct” another member of the church because of pride and a lack of gentleness?
      2. Think about the last time when you heard a member (as opposed to the pastor or a duly elected church official) rebuke another member? Was it over a disputable issue on which the “rebuker” (due to pride) was sure he or she was right?
    4. Read Romans 14:1-4. What opportunities do we find here for condemning another church member?
      1. What?! No standards? What about upholding the standards?
      2. How does Paul suggest that we should handle these kinds of debates about disputable issues?

 

3. Character and Patience

  1. Read James 1:2-4. Some translations of the Bible translates the last word of verse 3 as “perseverance.”Other translations read “patience,” “steadfastness” or “endurance.” This is another aspect of patience. As you look at the context, what kind of patience is described?
    1. James tells us that this makes our faith “mature and complete.” How is this the product of patience?
    2. Let’s look at how we should apply these spiritual lessons to the realities of your life. When you are driving a car are you patient? Should you be? Or, are these other drivers just wasting your time and no spiritual issues are involved?
      1. What are the reasons why other drivers are holding you up?
        1. What kind of attitude did we decide that we should have towards other sinners?
    3. What about your job? Are you impatient for promotion? Do you feel that you should have been given more responsibility, more money and more authority?
      1. Look again at James 1:3-4. Does this text provide any helpful advice about promotion?
    4. What about patience while waiting in line? Is waiting in line a pure waste of time?
    5. What about patience in waiting for Jesus to return and take us to heaven?
    6. In closing, do you feel impatient? Why not resolve to do this: fill your waiting time with productive work. Be generous when it comes to the slowness of others because God has been generous to you in your slowness in doing His will. Will you decide today to seek the help of the Holy Spirit to be more patient?

 

4   Next week: The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness.

 

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