In this week’s Fruits of the Spirit blog, Pastor Dan Lord shares with us about the spirit of Patience. Pastor Dan and his wife Paige lead Victory Church located just south of St. Louis, Missouri and have been supporting Mercy for over 11 years.
Have you ever heard the patience prayer? It goes something like this, “Lord Jesus, I need more patience, and I need it RIGHT NOW!” Ha. This is so true of us as humans. However, I have found God doesn’t usually answer that prayer. We do need more patience, but we probably won’t get it when we need it most. Patience is usually never given to us in the moment. What I have discovered is that God will most often give us patience when we prepare our heart to allow His working in us before we are in need. We must then, in times of testing, draw from the patience reservoir and scoop up the patience we need for the situation we are facing.
As a boy, I heard a story from an old preacher about an elderly woman who was sitting on her front porch as a storm was approaching. A man was walking by in a hurry to get home and said to her, “You better start praying. There is a big storm coming.” She replied, “I am prayed up! The time to pray is long before the storm comes.” When we suddenly see storm clouds brewing and our hearts and minds are filled with impatience and annoyance, we can’t demand patience to appear in our lives. It is a fruit of the spirit that must be cultivated and fertilized in our hearts long before it is needed.
God’s expectation for us to be patient is part of a high calling in Christ Jesus. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 that he challenges us to, “…be patient with everyone.” When I read those words from the Bible, “be patient with everyone”, I immediately want to argue with God. “Let’s be reasonable, God! I feel entitled to have a short list of people that I should be able to lose my patience with.” I know I will lose that argument and so will you. God expects His children to give what they have received from Him, extreme patience. He is long-suffering with us. What does that mean? He has suffered a long time, allowing grace and mercy for our humanity and imperfections, and expects for us to do the same for others. For everyone. No one gets crossed off the list.
It’s one thing to give a stranger we are only around for a brief encounter patience and grace. However, bearing with one another and having long-suffering patience speaks more to people who we do life with on a regular basis. The Passion Translation describes this fruit of the spirit as a, “Patience that endures”. The more we are with others, the greater the possibility for us to see their faults, experience their humanity, and to be bothered by them. The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Jesus actually expects us to not just put up with people, but to also bear their humanity.
Filling the Reservoir
How do I store up patience? I have found it is available for me in quiet times of reflection and prayer. Greater patience comes by spending time in God’s presence and meditating on His Word. One of the best things to do is to pray and bless the people who most get on your nerves. You will soon find that you’re not so annoyed with them and that you’ll be much more patient the next time you see them. Please allow me to ask you a question: Is there someone you feel entitled to be impatient with? Let’s put their name in the blank and declare that “I am not bothered by ____________ .” Take them to the cross in prayer and remember God’s great patience with us. Let’s allow God to give us the strength in advance so we can love them as He loves us and can give them the grace they deserve. So, let us pray today, “God give me patience. Help me to store it up right now.”
Pastor Dan Lord is the lead pastor at Victory Church in St. Louis, Missouri. He aims to share God’s Word in a way that his church family can easily take it home with them, like a simple brown bag lunch. You can find Pastor Dan and Victory Church on Facebook, Instagram, or their website linked here.
Mercy Multiplied exists to provide opportunities for all to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. We offer multiple programs and resources online and onsite designed to equip people to live free and stay free in Christ. For more information about the services we offer, click here.