Fruit Of The Spirit

My reading this week led me to revisit a text we studied last year, Galatians 5:22-23. In this text, the apostle Paul laid out nine virtues called the Fruit of the Spirit. The text made me think of how my life has been shaped by experiences encountered along the way,
 especially in moments where the virtue of patience or perseverance was required. I must admit that I was a slow learner, yet those experiences taught me (and are teaching me still) some important lessons about how God wants to change me.

Think of it this way. Just as physical exercise strengthens our physical bodies to perform well, correctly handling our emotional responses to difficult situations, trials, and tribulations can strengthen our patience and endurance when things don’t go our way. Each time we overcome our desire to be impatient or give up, it contributes to our spiritual maturity, refining us into individuals who grow stronger and more resilient in challenging situations.

Another favorite passage of mine is found in James 1:2-4.“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James reminds us to embrace trials with joy, even in the hardest situations, for they develop perseverance within us. Like a blacksmith forging steel in the fire to shape it and make it stronger, adversity tempers our character, making us mature and complete.

Consider the people in your life who test your patience—maybe it’s a family member who annoys you or the co-worker who tries your composure. Our first reaction is usually to think these sources of frustration serve no purpose. We simply want to blame them for being the way they are. But James says these moments are actually ways to build our patience, to teach us endurance right there in the middle of the irritation and annoyance.

And what about the mundane aspects of life—long waits in line, being stuck in traffic or doing tedious tasks—even here we can find opportunities to cultivate patience. Every moment of irritation, every instance of delay, serves as an opportunity for strengthening our resolve to remain calm and increases our ability to endure.

Perhaps one of the hardest lessons I learned from my impatience was how it triggered my anger. As I verbalized my frustrations in the presence of others, my lack of patience harmed relationships. Not intentionally, but harm was done just the same. I recall applying this verse about Jesus to my situation which put my impatience and angry outbursts into perspective.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

I’m certainly not comparing myself to what Jesus endured. What I am saying is that He endured suffering far beyond my frustrations all without complaint. So, who am I to act in a way that does not honor the one who died for me.

Galatians also reveals how to acquire patience. Paul says we must prepare our minds and hearts by walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

The teaching here is that the Fruit of the Spirit can only come from the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. He alone is the source and supplier of patience because He is the God of all patience. Only as we are filled with the Spirit and stay connected to the vine will we be able to know and experience His patience. Just as we can’t manufacture love, joy or peace on our own, we certainly can’t pretend to have patience when we don’t. As we walk in the Spirit, meditate on Scripture and pray patience will come and we’ll deepen our relationship with God in the process.

Remember that in Jesus we find the ultimate example of patience and virtue. He endured years of frustration with his disciples, bore the weight of humanity and all its temptations, and faced intense suffering during his passion. Yet, through it all, he exhibited unwavering patience and trust in the Father's plan.

His example should encourage us to embrace the trials and difficulties of life as opportunities for spiritual growth, trusting that God is at work in every circumstance to mold us into vessels of patience and grace.

Patience is a calm endurance based on the certainty that God is in control.”

Credit: Ron Kelley

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