The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the falling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
If I have the humility to realize that I am not perfect and need others to be patient with me and my imperfections, it will be easier for me to be patient with the imperfections of others. And if I need patience from others, I should be willing to be patient with them as well.
More than the patience of others, we all need God’s patience with our faults. And again, how can we expect from God what we are unwilling to offer to one another?
If love is the first Fruit of the Spirit, then patience is one of the things that lead us to love because, in order to love someone, you have to be able to forgive them when they wrong you, and in order to forgive someone, you have to have patience with their faults. There are nine listed “Fruit” in Galatians but there are many more than nine Christian virtues. I would say that the virtue most tied to patience would be forgiveness.
The final thought I offer on “patience” before we move on to the next Fruit goes back to St. Paul’s “treatise” on love in I Corinthians 13. When St. Paul writes about love, the first thing he says about love is that “love is patient.” He doesn’t say that love is easy, or that love is convenient. Love is rewarding but it requires patience in order to have love. The saying is that nothing good in life comes easy. Anything that is good in life requires us to work and to be patient. If we can learn to be patient with the faults of others, we will be well on our way to loving others in the way that the Lord loves us.
Lord, thank You for Your patience with my many faults. As You are kind and gracious to overlook my sins, may I also show the same compassion to those who have sinned against me. Help me to be patient and kind with others and lead me to understand the true meaning of love. May I ever grow in love towards others and towards You. Amen.
May we show patience to others, that the Lord may show patience towards us!
Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website!
Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
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