But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
I cannot believe that I am compelled to write about this one word. But, I really don't have a choice as I had someone speak into my life this week and she said one word over and again, “Patience.”
Wait. Is my impatience showing again? Is it that obvious that someone feels the need to point out a blind spot? Well, not a blind spot, as it is rather obvious even to me. Maybe I should cover it up with fig leaves – because I wouldn’t want that to show.
But, that is not being very transparent. Nor, is it real.
My friend has known me for some time and has known of my affliction. Even though I had not seen her for a year, she was able to surmise a weak link in my chain. Patience.
She shared her own health struggle that took two years to find resolution and she used that as an example for me. Hold on. Stay the course. Keep my eyes on Jesus. Be patient. Her affliction was a shoulder, mine is my feet. But, patient endurance will win the game.
Fruit of the Spirit
In looking at the list of fruit in Galatians, I fall short. But, that is not doctrinally accurate. It is the Holy Spirit that produces fruit in my life. For sure, I have to be a willing vessel, as on my own I cannot conjure up fruit. I seem to eat up the fruit and leave the pits, seeds, and skin behind.
When we die to self, we say to the Lord, “Have Your way.” This is when radical transformation happens. It is God who works in us. To work out His purpose. To demonstrate His character in us. Hence, love, in its manifold definition is joy, peace, patience, kindness and so on. Patience is a sign that love is at work.
That guy Job
You have probably heard the saying, “Having the patience of Job.” That poor guy. I mean, he lost all except his wife, and then when he is at a very low point his wife wants him to curse God and die, and then his friends begin their own rounds of advice. All the while, Job is sitting on an ash heap scraping the boils that have arisen on his skin.
He does not curse God. He does not listen to these boys from the hood. Instead he proclaims - But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand upon the earth at last. Job 19:25 NLT He knows. He believes. He will hold on because God will stand upon the earth at last. He can wait. He can be patient.
But he is Job and I am me. So, how can I get this allusive patience? How can I hold on in confidence knowing that God will stand upon that earth? That He will redeem me?
The short answer: I can’t.
The right answer: So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
That’s right. Boast in my weaknesses. Notice the plural. Boast about all of them. Why? So the POWER of Christ can work through me. This is where the fruit is made. When I can boast of how I am not patient, or kind, or gentle, Christ can begin His work with His power.
This is how Job was able to hold on. He knew how weak he was. Even the boys from the hood stated the obvious ad nauseum. Job knew that God is good, He does good and works all out for our good. So he held on with patient expectation.
The fruit that is born from that type of commitment (and I was going to type contentment) is the fruit worth having. It is sweet, ripe, as well as fragrant. Pleasing to look at. Desirous.
Before we beat ourselves up, when someone comes into your life with a reminder or a call to be patient, let’s take it as a reminder from God to boast about our weaknesses and to boast about the work of Christ in us.
Then stand back because we will see a work in us. One that will bring God glory. It will be good. It’s God’s economy after all. My patience brings Him glory. And the Holy Spirit gives us everything we need to produce this fruit - it is His love pouring through our veins.
All this talk about fruit is making me hungry. Anyone got a fork?
Lord, thank You that You desire to work in me and my affliction. You give me what I need to boast about my many weaknesses. You give me patience as a fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I submit myself even more for Your glory. AMEN