(A series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)
by Jeremy Nixon
One day this past week I asked my 4 y/o daughter to get buckled up in my pickup truck so we could leave. In my head, that looks like her crawling in the truck and getting in her seat and buckling up. But what generally happens is as follows: I usually open the door and she hops in (lost in space) and gets in her seat, gets out of her seat, finds a toy she left in there and then plays with her sister and then crawls up front to pretend drive at which point I walk outside to see her NOT buckled up. I lose my #&#^$ then, well…she buckles up and all is well in the world, at least mine. She’s a lot like me, so I get her and I love her to death! I never knew a house full of girls could try my patience so much.
Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Clearly it’s something that I would say I don’t possess or at least don’t possess on a consistent basis.
I asked a fellow fireman what he thought about patience and his answer intrigued me. I said, “What do think about patience, you know like in the Bible, the fruits of the spirit?” His reply: “It’s something that you need for all the other fruits.” I thought superfruit!! Patience is huge. With my house full of beautiful, loving girls, patience is something that is tested on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Love, joy, peace…yeah, got it, but patience; my, oh my, is it a hard one. Paul writes that if we live by the Spirit, then we should also walk by the spirit.
What does patience look like in our lives? In my line of work patience is something that you have to deal with on many emergency calls throughout the day. Most of the time people seriously need help. They are calling you at their weakest moment and truly need help, but then there are the times when someone is calling just to talk or see someone. Patience is tested at 3am when we get called out to something that doesn’t actually require us or even a false call. Yet we still go. It’s what we are paid to do…for most it’s what we are called to do.
Patience isn’t something that only we experience. Jesus had to show patience in his life on earth. The 12 disciples…need I say more? That ragtag bunch tested his patience on a daily basis, and it was His opportunity to model how to be patient to us. If God calls us to be like him and to show his love, then we have to be patient. God is love. Love is patient. I am so thankful that the Lord is patient with me (I’m one of the ragtags).
I’ve talked about picking fruit and how dirty it is. Patience is sure not to disappoint because it is something that I believe is a very hard task. God has equipped us to be patient and to show patience. Just like my buddy said, it takes patience to get the rest of the fruits. I truly believe that the fruits all go hand in hand.
Patience is a characteristic that God can use to reach your friends, neighbors and the world. Go forth…be fruity…be patient. I’m going to get back in the living room with the girls and work on my patience…it’s almost bedtime!