What fruit are we bearing? I’m asking that question today for our Bibles verses about patience pondering because today we’re reading from Galatians where it mentions the Fruit of the Spirit. This idea of patience as a “Fruit” of the Spirit made me think about the fruit of me–that sounds funny doesn’t it? Hopefully, you know what I mean.
Considering what kind of fruit we bear is a valid question. Psalm 52:8 compares us to a tree, “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever.” Considering we’re digging into Bible verses about patience and especially looking at the fruit of patience in this particular verse, what kind of “patience fruit” are we talking about here?
Patience with events? People? God? Ourselves?
“Generally speaking the word [Makrothurnia} is not used of patience in regard to things or events but in regard to people. Chrysostom said that it is the grace of the man who could revenge himself and does not, the man who is slow to wrath.”
—William Barclay – The Daily Bible Study Series
Who knew Bible verses about patience would get so involved? So personal? It’s one thing to consider how patient we are driving in traffic, standing in line, sitting on hold. But when our patience meter is being measured with a tired toddler or stressed husband, well, that’s a little up close and personal, isn’t it? Not to mention out of our of our control? Other people, not us, we are, ahem, in control of ourselves right?
Bible Verses About Patience
-Thomas a Kempis, in The Imitation of Christ, writes, “All our peace in this present life should depend on humble forbearance rather than on absence of adversity. He who knows the secret of endurance will enjoy the greatest peace.” Uh-Oh. I know I’ve thought many a time, “Once my kids…When my husband…If that person would (or wouldn’t)…” According to the above quote, that’s all kind of wrong thinking if ever there was any. My patience is not dependent on others or circumstances. My patience is a choice, my choice. My patience is a decision, my decision. My patience is an act of my will.
But the Holy Spirit…
Combining the above quote from Thomas a Kempis and this Bible verse about patience found in Galatians 5, yes, being patient is an act of the will–a choice I make. But patience in and of itself is a gift produced by the Holy Spirit in our lives. What a blessed relief!
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
+Galatians 5:22 (NLT)
Some mornings I can barely manage to produce a nutritional breakfast much less produce patience! So it’s not a matter of producing patience, that’s a relief. But as with any gift, this gift of patience can be neglected. During this pondering, I imagined receiving a gift card and never activating it. I was given the gift, but because I never activated it, the gift was never available for me to use. Does that make sense?
What Patience Really Is
I read recently, “The three grades of patience are: to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and even to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy.” (Catholic Culture)
Honestly, most days if not all, I’m just trying to make it through without too much complaint–exteriorly, not interiorly. My mind doesn’t even consider the possibility of using these “patience tests” as a means to make progress in virtue. Just me? And I surely don’t even get the level of holiness where I desire afflictions, “patience tests” out of love for God.
I’m specifically thinking about rough patches and seasons in life. I honest to goodness exteriorly and interiorly complain, sometimes before I even realize I’m doing it. My mood becomes sorely affected (sounds of Biblical proportions doesn’t it?) and I ask God for a different plan. Again, just me?
I found a good working definition of patience in the Catholic Dictionary, “Patience enables us to endure present evils without sadness or resentment in conformity to the will of God.”
Y’all, my puffy eyes, tear-stained pillow, and thoughts of “What in the world” and “Why” would surely prove I have not reached the point of being able to or choosing to–whichever–endure the trials and unpleasant surprises of this life with patience.
So now what? My first thought was to say, “Try again and keep trying.” But that first thought totally negates the ponderings on this Bible verse about patience! The first thing I need to do is recognize patience as a gift the Holy Spirit is producing and has produced in me. Next, I accept or activate that gift; remember the example of the gift card above? And then…I try again. And probably again and again and again.