The fruit of the Spirit express the character of Christ. God in us through His Spirit reveals God to others in how we are. This is seen particularly in the characteristic of patience.
Considering patience is fascinating in a world that promotes speed as a great quality. In that kind of world something that takes it time that will not be produced quickly is countercultural. For the follower of Jesus it’s challenging because not only is that which we wait for not always going to be produced quickly, circumstances may give the indication it will never be produced at all. As conditions worsen there’s every good reason to prefer to do something about it, to take matters into your own hands or to just plainly give up. That is exactly when the character of Christ emerges to nip those ‘reasonable’ thoughts in the bud.
Patience is not a state of inactivity. It is the quality of persevering which is very much active in keeping on keeping on. Patience is the capacity to stay on even when it would seem better to get off. That quality of sticking to it is about the source of our patience. We are patient because our Father shows great patience in out development. He shows great patience in the travails of humanity. He exercises this quality even when we go about making a mess of His creation. He is patient because He knows His will must come to pass. Therefore we are patient because His will must come to pass. When we get heavily invested in that will and begin to see things the way He sees them and treasure that for what it’s worth, the ability to take on the adversity in the meanwhile becomes something we can bear. We bear it because there’s something of far greater worth that we receive as we wait. While we bear it, we can encourage ourselves with the truths of what we wait for and even remind ourselves of the blessing of the presence of the one who promised while we wait.
That is not a solitary exercise. This is a communal and relational experience. As our Father is patient with our development, so we are patient with the development of our brother and sister. As our Father is patient because He is working on us, so we are patient in continuing to work with each other intentionally looking to see Christ developed in each other. Setbacks and disappointments do not negate the hope we have in Christ. Upsets and betrayals do not make His character less reliable and true.
It is marvellous and gratifying to know that God would allow us to produce patience as we hear and understand His word for us. That in itself is a great quality of fruitfulness for the glory of our Father.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden