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Patience is a Much-Needed Fruit to Be Shown and Exercised by Christ Followers

Years ago, I served at a church that had a large “store” where anyone in the community could come and get something free of charge. The woman who ran it did so by the most equitable means she could, limiting the items that could be taken, etc., so that the most people could be served each week. This being said, she also put policies in place to protect from people who would take advantage of it, and then would bar people from using the facility if they were caught doing so.

I remember getting a knock on my door when something didn’t go the way a patron thought it should. She was upset, I listened to her, and she told me her complaint. During this time, she was as sweet as can be. It was only after I said “Let me go down there, and make inquiries, because if I need to make a judgement call, I want to hear all sides of this,” that this woman’s sweet side turned sour. She wanted me to resolve it then and there, based on her point of view, and I wasn’t going to do it. This woman began to yell at me and chew me out, to the degree where her daughter, who’d often come to youth group, said “Don’t talk to my preacher like that!”

It's unfortunate that patience isn’t a fruit of the Spirit that many people like. Oh sure, we say we like it, in theory, but putting it in to practice requires submission, and submission requires us to accept that we won’t get our way. The love, joy and peace that come before it on the list (See Galatians 5:16-26 to find out all about spiritual and unspiritual fruits), but Patience is required to reap the benefits of all the others. It means listening more than talking, and accepting the leadership of God and those He’s placed above us, even if we disagree (unless the leadership is unscriptural, and then there’s a different subject all together). Patience is a much-needed fruit of the Spirit, and it is something each an every believer in Christ should strive for. It is a quality of Jesus, who was patient and submissive, even to the point of death, and we, His followers, are not exempt from seeking it, displaying it, and using it!

Galatians 5:16-6:10

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

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