Nov 17, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

This is a re-post from back in the day. I have writers block and no time lately. Figured this would be worth revisiting. Enjoy.)

When experiencing the most nail-biting, fist-clenching, white-knuckling, grueling moments that test your patience and endurance, do you ever think of the patience and endurance of our Lord? I write this with no intent or direction toward anyone other than myself, and if it falls upon you, may you be blessed as well. I so love the word of our Lord as there's nothing that it doesn't reveal for us. There are no dark areas in our world that the light of God has cannot shine upon, His revelation is clear and concise, and cuts to the quick! That said, my motto has forever been, "Patience is a virtue, but it can also kill you!" I always said this because I hated waiting for things that I knew eventually would not go my way.

1Ti 1:16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

As the Apostle Paul here makes a proclamation of the patience of our Lord he cites what appears to be his prominence and high favor that he held in the Lord. Who wouldn't be seemingly high-esteemed in believing they have favor in our Lord Jesus? His infinite mercy is enough to cause anyone who rightly has it and warrants an exceeding amount of joy and hope. As a matter of fact, the scriptures state that the fruits of the Spirit manifest themselves in our life as a result of those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Yet for this reason I found mercy… Paul reflects on the abundant grace of Jesus Christ in the previous verse that it deserves full acceptance that Christ came into the world to save sinners. The only reason that he has found mercy in the Lord, is because Jesus came to save sinners. Paul goes on to make the proclamation that among sinners that he is (v15) foremost of all... This is no mere understatement or false humility. Paul does not make this proclamation based upon his false piety or self-righteousness. He makes this statement based on his honest assessment of who he really is outside the grace of God. I too, am chief of sinners when my deeds are compared to the light of our Lord. His grace is more than abundant (v14). I find that a tad encouraging, to know that just a little of the Lord's grace is enough to cover a multitude of transgressions. To describe it is not doing it justice but it brings it into perspective. That's true, saving, amazing grace! So that in me as the foremost... Paul is not assigning himself superiority, what he does here is assign the true value of grace that is worthy of the Lord's mercy. Paul, the accuser of the Church, murderer of Christians, and persecutor of the Lord Jesus proclaims the value of his redemption in the Lord. The very man, who stood at command of the death of Stephen, bows at the feet of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. AMEN! For His mercy is worth being waited upon. Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Do you have to explain that one? Should it even warrant any explanation? I don't believe so, but glory to the Lord of Hosts, let's talk about it! Christ demonstrates His PERFECT PATIENCE. How hard would it be for you or I to exhibit patience when wrath is due someone who knowingly, admittedly, and fully deserves the justice coming to them? The temptation of man to exact payback and demand retribution all too often drives our desires. We see this in the many things we do in life. Relationships, desires, decisions, and even when to go to bed is all driven by our own use or misuse of patience. This deserves much more attention on our behalf's, and the Christian should often examine His own fruits, as we all too often spend way too much time inspecting everyone else's. Not only is Paul stating his undeserving state, but he explains his understanding of the infinite mercy Jesus shows to those that belong to Him. While I place expectations on others, have I fulfilled those that the Lord and I have on myself?

1Ti 1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;

The days of Noah during the construction of the Ark (I Pe 3:20) attribute a perfect example of the Lord's patience, 120 years He waited on the people of the Earth to repent, and they did not, except eight, who entered the Ark. Then there's the clear implication that His patience is so merciful, that man consistently believes he may put it to the test, forever trying to run the duration of our Lord's patience (Is. 7:13).

It seems to me that the patience we have, in all things should be measured upon not what we feel has been given us according to each one in a matter of portion. But, that we should measure the patience we have by the quality of its substance. The waiting and patience described in the NT is not any superficial like "patiently waiting for tomorrow's mail." This reduces patience down to something you know is going to come and merely becomes a delay or prolonging. No, the patience and waiting described is a patience that consists of eagerness and certainty. Not a certainty of knowledge of the result, a certainty on the Sovereignty of God! How great a blessing to be had to know that WE get to WAIT on the return of our Lord with a certainty that He will do as He has promised! Redeem those whom are His! So what is this eagerness like? It's a blessing that is afforded us through the knowledge of our Master's return.

Luke 12:35-38
"Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. "Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. "Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. "Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

Rom 8:24-25 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Php 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

The conclusion is maybe not obvious for you, but is clearly obvious for me. Tonight, I've learned there is a greater joy in awaiting the will of our Lord then there is in pursuing the desires of our flesh. Even though our actions may be based upon good, well-intentioned, and providential motives, we can go seriously wrong. The only way to go right is through the will of our Lord. If Jesus Christ could wait patiently upon the heinous and gruesome acts of Paul, save him from damnation and give him purpose, then we too can await on the Lord to provide patience and an ability to await His will in our lives. This seems to me a bit better than me hurrying something along to get a temporary fix to a permanent problem. That's my thought today. Please be "Patient" in your commenting!

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