“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
The fourth characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit we will be focusing on this week is patience.
Let me start with a confession. Patience? I don’t have time for this!
The Greek word for patience is makrothumia. The word literally means “patience,” “long-suffering,” “forbearance.”
So let me get this straight. As if suffering isn’t bad enough, the characteristic of the fourth fruit of the Spirit is LONG-suffering?!?!
Before we get off track, let me explain what the Greek word actually means by patience, long-suffering, and forbearance.
The Greek word is a compound word:
- makros – long
- thumos – passion, anger
The Greek compound word literally means “long-passion” or “long-anger.” What this word means is waiting a sufficient time (i.e. long) before expressing anger. This word has in mind the ability to avoiding the premature use of force and retribution that arises out of improper anger.
In the English, we have the term short-tempered. Patience is the opposite of that. Patience, long-suffering, forbearance is to be long-tempered; waiting a proper time before expressing anger so as to not over-react.
This is how God is with us. And this is what God calls us to practice with one another.
Patience is hard and difficult.
Patience is not something we feel. It is something we do. We wait. We forbear. We long-suffer. This is an active verb. This is something we must work at. Patience doesn’t just happen.
What a timely word. Our world could sure use a lot more of patience, being long-tempered, long-suffering, and forbearing with one another.