The Aspects of the Fruit of The Spirit
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (from Galatians 5:22-23)
– is the ability to wait with eager expectation – even in the midst of difficulty, trial, or suffering. Older versions translate this word accurately as “longsuffering.” It is often not an easy or carefree wait – there is an arduous, yet hopeful, aspect to our endurance. Again, we see this in the heart of God, as Peter was inspired to remind us: “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise (to return for His people), as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance… bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation…” (2 Peter 3:9, 15)
The New Testament Scriptures often point to Old Testament “saints” for examples to inspire us. In Hebrew 6:12-15, Abraham is given as a model of Scriptural patience. He received God’s promise (that He would be blessed, and that his descendants would be innumerable – even though he was childless at the time!). Scripture declares that Abraham believed God, but had to persevere in that belief for 25 years before the promise was fulfilled. Abraham patiently endured, waiting with eager expectation for God to fulfill His promise. Abraham inspires us to trust in God, expectantly – and Scripture reminds us of the spiritual principle that: those who patiently endure, obtain the promise (see Hebrews 6:15)
Jesus demonstrated this patience in working with His disciples. As we read of their interactions with Jesus, we see that the disciples really struggled to understand Who Jesus was, and what He was about. They didn’t really understand His teachings, and would often have to inquire as to what He meant. Even as Jesus was about to ascend to the Father, the disciples didn’t understand His purpose and were asking all the wrong questions (see Acts 1:6).
Though this must have been difficult, Jesus addressed His disciples with great and enduring patience – confident in The Father’s plan to bring them to an understanding of His purpose… and theirs. God’s character is patient, and longsuffering, in dealing with humanity.
God’s love for us is so often expressed to us through His enduring patience with us.