Last week we were looking at developing a willingness to stick with things. You can be willing to stick with things but lack the strength to do it hence we need to lean on God for His strength. I like what my Pastor Esther said a few weeks ago, she said we have to make the decision and then the grace will come. When we make the decision to stick things out, we can lean on God for the power to follow through with that decision! How good is God?
Other translations of Galatians 5:22 use the term, “patience to endure” or “patience”. That is a word we are all familiar with. Some people are born patient, they are just chilled and relaxed and easy going. Others have to learn patience. I wish patience came naturally to me, but it doesn’t. I know some of you are like me, so don’t read on like you don’t know what I’m talking about!
Anyway, the patience we are talking about goes beyond our human patience. This is a fruit of the Spirit patience. It is God patience. It is next level patience. For Caleb it was 45 years of waiting to see the promised land patience. For Abraham it was 25 years of waiting to see Isaac. For Noah it was about a 120 years of building the ark and no rain before the flood came patience.
God has a history of making people wait. I wish I could say it is all historical but He still does it even today. When you are a born again believer, God begins to do a work in you. It’s a transformative work where He transforms us from the inside into Christ likeness. That is how we grow and develop fruit of the Spirit, by yielding to the process of transformation that the Holy Spirit is doing in us. For us to develop the fruit of patience, guess what God does? He makes us wait. He puts us around people who are different to us and who are likely going to rub us the wrong way. God is good like that. No, that is not sarcasm. It is good for us to grow and develop and mature. The more patient we are, the less inclined we are to quit when things do not go our way.
The King James Version uses the word, “longsuffering” instead of patience. I am not a fan of that word because I don’t like to suffer long, haha. The word used also means perseverance. So it is not just patience whilst you are stuck in traffic for 20 minutes. It is developing internal umph and resilience so that we are not easily deterred when we don’t see results quickly. When you are a newly saved Christian, before you even finish praying the answer is already there. As you grow and mature, it takes longer to start to see answers, guess why? Because your prayers get bigger than you. You begin to pray God sized prayers that affect your family and friends then your church then cities and nations. Those things don’t change overnight, but over time as you press on, you will begin to see God at work.
Growing in our patience and longsuffering helps us become more useful for God. If Daniel had been impatient as he prayed, he would never have received the answer to his prayer. He waited 21 days before this encounter recorded in Daniel 10:12-14 which says, “Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”
See that, Daniel’s prayer was bigger than himself. He was praying for a people group, for a nation and he had to wait for the answer because there was a battle in the spiritual realm. If want to grow to a place where God can begin to speak to us and give us strategies for our jobs, our families, our cities, our nations- we have to allow Him to do a work in us so we can keep pressing against resistance without backing down. So we can be patient in our waiting. Patient in our relationships and reflect Jesus. Persevering through hardship and not quitting under pressure.
Love and blessings,