Galatians 5.22-23“Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control …”
Last year when we were studying the book of James and the discipline of patience, I did some observational research by watching people and noting the presence or absence of patience in the way they responded to situations that confronted them. Because I travel every week, I had many opportunities to observe the behavior of people as they responded to situations in airports, on freeways, in hotels, restaurants, meetings, schools, conversations, and work projects.
The amount of impatience that I observed was alarming. I noticed that in every situation where people were impatient, three things happened:
- They lost focus on what really mattered. Rather than working the process that would achieve the goal they wanted, they engaged in BCD (blame others, complain about the situation, defend self).
- The impatient attitude/behavior was always counterproductive, and it made the situation worse.
- When people were impatient, their stress level increased quickly and dramatically. It not only made the situation more difficult for them, it also made the situation more difficult for the people around them.
Here's the point: Impatience distracts and demotivates. It is negative energy. It diminishes your focus and weakens your perseverance. Can you see why patience is a fruit of the Spirit? Patience gives us the focus and perseverance necessary for working the process for the time that is required.
We need patience (focus and perseverance) for nearly everything: Building a great marriage, parenting our children, physical fitness, financial fitness, and projects at work. Spiritual growth requires patience (focus and perseverance). Evangelism requires patience (focus and perseverance). You can see here that I keep repeating that patience is focus and perseverance. Patience isn’t passive. Work the process that is necessary for the time that is required, and solve problems along the way.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4.2)