The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)
The fourth evidence of the Holy Spirit in someone’s life is patience. What does it mean to be patient? The Greek word for patience is makrothumia and, according to BDAG Greek Lexicon, it carries the meaning of a “state of remaining tranquil while awaiting an outcome” or a “state of being able to bear up under provocation.” For this reason, the old King James Version often translated the Greek word as “longsuffering.” In other words, patience is about being willing and able to endure or suffer difficult situations or difficult people for extended periods of time without losing it, without snapping or losing your cool. But why is this a fruit of the Holy Spirit? Because the same Spirit who indwells believers is the Spirt of God (1 Cor. 2:11-12). It is God’s spirit which indwells believers and transforms them from the inside out. And scripture says of God in Psalm 86:15, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Thus, if one truly possesses the indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, then that same spirit will enable them to be far more patient than they previously were and far more patient than the world around them who do not have the Holy Spirit of God. Although none of this is probably new, we all know God is amazingly patient and Christians should strive to be patient people. The real struggle most of us have is how patient should we be, particularly with people? How patient should we be with people whose behavior grates on us and rubs us the wrong way? Well…how patient is God with you?
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