Friday, July 27, 2012

Patience is a Virtue

My car is nine years old; I bought it new and replaced the brake pads four or five times plus incurred other costs related to brake work. I’ve spent more on my brakes than average drivers because I like speed, or more precisely, I like to get out of the gate quickly. I accelerate and then hit the brakes. I do everything quickly. I eat quickly, I read quickly, and I walk quickly. Patience is not a strong virtue for me, and yet it is a fruit of the Spirit and I want to develop it in my life. The problem is it takes too long to do.

Our entire culture fixates on getting things done more quickly. It’s no surprise we are more stressed than ever before. Patience is closely related to peace. A Greek-English lexicon defines patience as ‘to remain seated in one’s heart’ or to keep one’s heart from jumping. It’s similar to the definition for peace, isn’t it? Peace is sitting with one’s own heart and patience is remaining seated. A patient person is a peaceful person.

Patience is more than passive inaction. In yoga exercise, instructors say continually, “Stay active.” Yoga is a series of poses held for a number of breaths, it’s not what you would call an active sport but the instructor means to stay focussed, be aware of what’s going on in your body and keep your body alert. When patience is mentioned as a virtue in the Bible, the Lord is saying, “Don’t be passive but keep your spirit alert while you rest in me.”

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit because it is part of God’s character which is developed in us through Jesus Christ.

The divine attitude, God’s dealings with men, has become the content indissolubly linked with makrothymia (patience), so that even the human attitude of makrothymia is set in a new light. ~ Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament

Jesus Christ tells us, his disciples, to abide in him to bear fruit. Patience is a fruit but without it, fruit doesn’t produce either. We need patience to have more patience. It seems impossible, until a believer understands, truly understands, apart from Christ we can do nothing.

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