Summary: THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT Patience, Kindness and Goodness
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Patience, Kindness and Goodness
In Galatians 5, Paul lists nine fruits of the spirit that are a result of allowing ourselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Last week, we discussed the first three fruit: love, joy and peace. Today we come to the second cluster of fruit which consists of patience, kindness and goodness. These fruit have to do with our relationships with other people. If we find ourselves being short-tempered, unkind or rude; then we are lacking in these fruit of the spirit.
The first fruit Paul lists in this second cluster of fruit is patience. We sometimes seem to gloat in our own impatience.
The American Prayer – Lord Give Me Patience – Now!
Phillips Brooks was an outstanding preacher of the late 19th century. Even though he was a great orator, he was well known for his moments of frustration and irritability. One day a friend saw him pacing the floor like a caged lion. “What’s the trouble, Dr. Brooks?” asked the friend. “The trouble is that I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t!” Most of us can empathize with this thought.
We have come to think of patience as the ability to wait for some event or object to come our way in the future. Indeed this is an aspect of patience, but this is not what Paul had in mind here. Paul had in mind being patient with people, not so much as being patient with things. In this text patience refers to tolerance. Here, patience is a gentle tolerance of others, no matter how they may treat us.
Instead of the word patience the old King James Version uses the word LONGSUFFERING. In many ways this word may be more appropriate for what Paul is expressing. In other words, the Spirit enables a Christian to suffer long. As Christians, we realize that God has been patient with us in our shortcomings; therefore as a believer, we are to be patient with others. One who is long-suffering, has his temper under control. Instead of losing our temper when we are wronged, we are patient and full of endurance. In other words, we are slow to take offense and we leave vengeance to God. Do you recall the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus said:
You have heard that is was said, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you in the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
I believe Jesus meant for us to take these words literally, not figuratively. This is patience – having a
tolerance for others, no matter how they treat us.
Some years ago, in a manufacturing village in England, a young lady spoke to the Sunday School
superintendent about teaching a class. He told her he had no vacant classes, but if she would like to go
out into the community and hunt up a class of boys for herself, he would be glad to have her help. She
did and gathered a class of poor ragged boys. Among these, the worst and most unpromising boy was
named Bob. The superintendent told these boys to come to his house during the week, and he would get
them each a new suit of clothes. They came and got their clothes. After two or three Sundays, Bob was
missing. The teacher went after him. She found that his new clothes were torn and dirty. She invited him
back to school. He came and the superintendent gave him a second suit. After attending once or twice
Bob’s place was empty again. Once more the teacher sought him out. She found that the second suit of clothes had gone the same way as the first. She reported the case to the superintendent, saying she was utterly discouraged about Bob, and must give him up. “Please don’t do that,” said the superintendent, “I can’t help but hope that there is something good in Bob. Try him once more. I’ll give him a third suit of clothing if he’ll promise to attend regularly.” Bob did promise. He received his third suit of clothes. He did attend regularly after that. He got interested in the school. He became an earnest and persevering seeker after Jesus and eventually found him. He joined the church and eventually became a teacher. He began to study for the ministry, and the end of the story is that that discouraging boy – that ragged, runaway Bob – became Rev. Robert Morrison, the great missionary to China. The same Dr. Morrison who translated the Bible into the Chinese language. How did all this come about? Because a couple of Christians were patient. They endured the frustration and let God’s spirit work through them. The fruit of the Spirit is patience.