As the saying goes-where there are people, there are problems!
So what can you and I do about people? How can we handle the people who cause us pain? How can we obtain victory and live in a manner that glorifies God? How can we continue to walk by the Spirit and not succumb to the flesh when we are assaulted by people? Handling people in a gracious, Christlike manner presents a real test for us. But thank God that He gives us three more graces, three more fruit [of the Spirit]- patience, kindness, and goodness (Galatians 5:22)- for managing the strain of personal relationships.
Love, joy, and peace are godly attitudes that enable us to handle the difficult circumstances of life. Patience, kindness, and goodness help us in our relationships with difficult people. One commentator noted this logical progression and wrote, “If an individual is strong in the love, joy, and peace of God, he will be able to reach out to his neighbor in a more Christlike manner.” Reaching out to others requires that we take action-the action of patience, kindness, and goodness as we walk by the Spirit.
Colossians 3:12 instructs us to “put on a heart of …patience.” We are to adorn ourselves with a heart of patience. In addition to putting on a heart of patience, we are to “walk….with patience” (Ephesians 4:1-2) In describing the Christian life, Paul writes that we can enhance our relationships with other believers and promote the unity of the church if we conduct ourselves with patience.
THE MEANING OF PATIENCE
Suppose patience were available in a can at the grocery store. What divine ingredients would be written on the label?
Ingredient #1 – The first and primary ingredient in patience is endurance. This steadfastness of the soul under provocation includes the idea of forbearing wrong and ill-treatment. Patient endurance is long-suffering, tolerant, and slow to anger. The ingredient of patient endurance is practiced primarily towards people and relates to our attitude toward others. As on scholar succinctly stated, “It is the quality of putting up with other people, even when…..sorely tired.”
Ingredient #2 – The label describing patience next details the very special conditions for patience: when injured. You see you need patience to endure injuries inflicted by others, a patience that is characterized by long-suffering, evenness of temper, or patient endurance when injured by another. Dr. George Sweeting wrote, “A large part of being kind is the patient willingness to put up with the abuse or ridicule that comes our way. Ususally that patience is needed most just when it is exhausted. So often our tolerance level wears thin at the wrong time and our spirit of kindness melts away. Real love…is patient, and it never gives up.” Godly patience shines the brightest when pain is inflicted upon us.
Ingredient #3 – Another ingredient on the label describing patience is mercy. Patience wishes well to others and is willing to endure with them…hoping for their good. William Barclay shares a sobering insight about mercy when he writes, ” If God had been a man, He would have wiped out this world long ago, but He has the patience which bears with all of our sinning and will not cast us off. [Therefore] in our dealings with our fellow men we must reproduce this loving, forbearing, forgiving, patient attitude of God.” We are actually acting like God when we are patient with people.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise [to come again], as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.
Ingredient #4 – Patience “Contains no anger or vengeance!” Patience is the grace of the man who could revenge himself but chooses not to. And, as children of God, we never have any reason to avenge ourselves anyway because God has promised us, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Therefore patience withholds: It withholds vengeance, revenge, and retaliation, and endures instead. It endures ill treatment, it refuses to be angry, and it desires the offenders good.
Patience can be accomplished when kneeling in prayer.
Note: The above information is a study taken from the book, “A Woman’s Walk With God, Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit” by Elizabeth George