Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit(4) – Patience

Galatians 5:22-23
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today I will talk about the fruit of patience, the fourth of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
We can find patience in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the “Love” chapter, and this is the patience to cultivate love.
For example, it says that love does not seek its own.
In order to give up what we want and seek the benefit of others first according to this word, we will face the situations that require our patience.
The patience in the spiritual love chapter is the patience to cultivate love.
But the patience that is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is patience in everything. This patience is a level higher than the patience in spiritual love.
Brothers and sisters, in many cases, for people to experience happiness or not is decided by whether they can be patient or not.
In many cases parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, and friends become like enemies because they were not patient in certain matters.
Also, end result can vary greatly in one’s studies, work, or business depending on a person’s patience.
It’s the same in spiritual matters.
When we want to receive an answer from God, the fruit will be different depending on our patience.
But the patience in a spiritual sense and the worldly sense of patience are different from each other.
The worldly people also endure, but most of them just have fleshly patience.
Imagine the anguish people experience while having to have self-control over their ill-feelings or lusts!
They may have to frown, clench their teeth, shake all over, or even get sick.
Some people stop eating and drinking and others may not be able to get any sleep.
Some people become depressed because of such things.
Also, they find it difficult and agonize in their efforts to maintain self-control in the process of achieving something.
Some athletes say they are sick of training when they think about it after getting a gold medal in competition.

They won the medal through that training, but they even had some hard feelings against their coaches.
In a worldly context it is said that these people are patient, for they endure something difficult.
But spiritual patience is not like that.
Spiritual patience is not enduring with evil but enduring with goodness.
If you endure with evil, the stress will become an illness because of the accumulated ill-feelings, or your heart will become hardened.
However, if you endure with goodness, you can overcome difficulties with thanks and hope. As a result you will have a broader heart.
If there were no flesh or evil at all in this world, then we would not have to have patience in anything.
But this patience is the process which we have to undergo in order to sow in spirit and reap in spirit.
For example, when a newborn baby has high fever, the mother will suffer taking care of the baby.
She may stay up all night or not be able to eat, and her arms may ache from holding the baby, but she doesn’t have any time to think about herself.
She wouldn’t complain saying she is hungry, sleepy, or that the situation is too difficult for her to bear.
She focuses only on how she can make her baby more comfortable and let the baby recover as soon as possible.
And when the baby’s fever goes down a little, she will just become so happy, but still she’s unable to think about her own sufferings.
Spiritual patience is somewhat similar to this.
There are hardships until you achieve your goal or dream, whether it is personal or for the glory of God.
You may have some sorrowful things and you have to work with so much effort.
But you can wait with faith and love because you are looking forward to the fruit of it with hope.
Let me give you another illustration.
Suppose somebody just comes up to you and he curses at you and then slaps you on your right cheek.
Now, your pride is hurt so much, and you are so angry that tears may even fall.
But you can still bear with it thinking that you have to follow the word of God.
Your face turns red and your breathing become rough, but you just close your mouth firmly to control yourself.
But if you press down ill-feelings this way, it may burst later on at some other occasion.
This kind of patience is not spiritual patience even though you bear with the situation.
If you have the fruit of patience in your heart, your feelings are never stirred in any situation.
You know there must be some misunderstanding and you just try to resolve the situation.
If you can have peace and melt the heart of the other person, you can even offer your left cheek.
If you have this kind of heart, the words like ‘patience’ or ‘forgiveness’ do not really mean anything.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if we more specifically think about spiritual patience, we can categorize it into three parts.
First is the patience to change our heart.
The more evil we have in heart, the more difficult it is to be patient.
If we have much anger, arrogance, greed, self-righteousness and frameworks, etc, we will have tempers and hard feelings rise over trivial matters.
But as we cast away evil and become sanctified, it becomes easier and easier to be patient.
We don’t have to suppress anything, and we can just understand and forgive others with patience even in difficult situations.
Luke 8:15 says, “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”
Namely, those who have good ‘soil of the heart’ can be patient until they bear good fruits.
But in fact, we need endurance and we need to put in effort to change our hearts into the good soil.
Holiness cannot be automatically achieved just by our desire to have it.
We have to make ourselves obedient to the truth by praying fervently with all our heart and with fasting.
We have to quit what we used to love, and if something is not spiritually beneficial, we have to cast it away.
We must not stop in the middle or just quit trying after trying it a couple of times.
Until we reap the fruit of sanctification completely and until we achieve our goal, we have to do our best with self-control and acting by the word.
But sometimes, we see a case in which one slows down in the speed of the circumcision of the heart after leading a diligent Christian life.
They cast away the works of the flesh quickly, because they are the sins on the outside.
But because the things of the flesh are not seen on the outside, how fast we cast them off is slowed down.
When they find the untruth in them, they pray hard to cast it away, but they just forget about it after several days.
If you want to remove a weed completely, you do not just pluck the leaf, but you have to pull out its root.
The same goes for sinful natures. You have to pray and change your heart until the end, until you pull out the root of sinful nature.
But if you are not patient, your determination is weakened and you become lazy while circumcising your heart.
Or, you think you have already cast off something, but if you find it again in you, you are very discouraged.
You become tired thinking that you have not achieved much although you tried so hard to cast away sins.
You may find forms of untruth in you until you pull out the original root of sinful nature, but it doesn’t mean you didn’t make spiritual progress.
When you peel an onion, you can see the same kind of layers come again and again.
But if you keep on peeling without stopping, the onion will finally disappear. It’s the same with sinful natures.
You must not get discouraged just because you didn’t cast it away yet. You have to have patience until the end and continue to try even harder while looking forward to seeing yourself changed.
Some other people get discouraged if they don’t receive material blessings immediately after they act by the word of God.
They think they don’t receive anything in return except a loss when they act in goodness.
Some people even complain that they attend church diligently but do not receive blessings.
But saying something like that of itself proves that the focus of their faith is not placed in the right place.
You don’t get tired if you act in goodness and truth with faith.
The more you act in goodness, the more joyous you become, so you come to long for more of the things of goodness.
When you circumcise your heart with faith in this way, your soul will prosper, all things go well with you, and you will be healthy.
Second kind of patience is that among men.
When you have interaction with people who have different personalities and education, you may have situations arise.
Beginning with trivial matters to great and serious matters, you may have different thoughts and peace might be broken as well.
But those who long for sanctification will be patient in any kind of situation with any kind of person and maintain peace.
Even in some difficult and uncomfortable situations, they try to be accommodating to others.
They always understand others with a good heart and they endure while seeking the benefit of others.
Even when others act with evil, they just bear with them. They pay back this evil only with goodness, not with evil.
We also have to be patient when we evangelize or counsel people, or when we train church workers to accomplish the kingdom of God.
While accomplishing a pastoral ministry, I see some people whose changes take place very slowly.
When they befriend the world and disgrace God, I shed many tears in mourning, but I have never given up on them from my side.
I do not suffer seeing their current state, but I have always bore with them for I have the hope that they will someday change.
When I raise the church workers, I have to be patient for such a long time.
Even when the leader has the faith and capability, he cannot just direct all his subordinates or force them do what he wants.
Even though he knows that the things will be accomplished a little more slowly, he cannot take away the duty from the church workers.
He has to be patient and wait for the workers to gain understanding by themselves through their experiences, so they will be more capable.
Not just when they don’t bear any fruit, but also when they do things wrong, we have to be patient with them so they won’t stumble.
It might be easier if the leader who has the capability just does it for them, or if he replaces that person with somebody who is more capable.
But the reason why we have to endure until the end is for each of the souls. It is to accomplish the kingdom of God more completely.
If you sow the seed of patience in this way, you will certainly gain the fruit according to the justice of God.
For example, if you endured with some souls until they change, praying for them with tears, you will have the broad heart to harbor all of them.
So, you will gain the authority and power to revive many souls.
You will gain the power to change the souls you harbor in your heart through the prayer of the righteous man.
Also, if you control your heart and sow the seed of endurance even in the face of false accusations, God will let you reap the fruit of blessings.
Third is the patience in your relation with God.
It refers to the patience that you should have until you receive the answer to your prayer.
Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”
There are many promises in the Bible that God will answer His children’s prayers besides this verse.
He even tells us that we have to believe we have already received and not that we will receive.
But in many cases people don’t receive their answers because they are not patient enough.
Men may ask for an immediate response, but God may not answer them immediately.
God answers them at the most appropriate and opportune time because He knows everything.
If the subject of their prayer request is something big and important, God can answer them only when the amount of prayer is filled.
When Daniel prayed to receive the revelation of spiritual things, God sent His angel to answer that prayer as soon as Daniel began to pray.
But it took a period of 21 days before Daniel actually met with the angel.
For those 21 days Daniel kept praying with the same earnest heart as when he had started praying.
If we really believe that we have already been given something, then it’s not difficult waiting to receive it.
Farmers also have to be patient when they farm.
It’s a lot of labor to plow the field and sow the seeds, but even after that he cannot just sit back and wait.
He has to take care of the crops diligently. We can harvest some crops after several weeks or months, but for some other crops it takes a year or even several years.
For something like Insam, or Ginseng, it takes 4 to 6 years to harvest.
The value is greater when it takes more time to cultivate it, and so, the farmer will work hard until the end even though he has nothing to harvest right now.
What if a farmer sows the seeds in spring and becomes impatient?
He may wonder why the plants are not growing up quickly and producing fruit and dig up the ground.
He may even just give up on the farming thinking that the seeds aren’t bearing any fruit.
Then, there will be no harvest even if he sowed very good seeds.
Likewise, if we do not have true faith, we cannot wait until we receive what we ask God in prayer.
We may pray and fast to ask God, but if the answer doesn’t come quickly enough, we may just give up thinking God isn’t going to answer us.
James 1:6-8 says, “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
If we have the faith to really receive the answer, we have to pray and act with faith until we actually receive the answer as the fruit.
Also, when we go through some refining trials of the heart or persecutions in our Christian lives, we can bear good fruits when we have patience.
Just think about Joseph.
Since he was sold into Egypt as a slave, his life was a continuum of tragedy itself.
When his situations got a little better being a slave, he was wrongfully accused and went to jail where there was no release.
Of course, all the steps were the grace of God and a process to prepare him to become the prime minister of Egypt.
And you know that Joseph trusted in God fully and he endured and acted only in the truth throughout all the processes.
You know it as knowledge, but what if you were in the same situation?
Can you imagine what he felt for 13 years since the day he was sold as a slave?
You probably will pray so much before God to get out of the situation.
You will miss your home so much as well as your dear father and younger brother.
You will probably thoroughly check yourself and repent of all the things that you can think of in order to receive the answer from God.
You will also ask for grace of God with many tears and earnest words.
And if you don’t get the answer for a year, 2 years, and even 10 years, but you only get into more difficult situations, how would you feel?
If you are jailed during the most vigorous years of your life and you see the days go by meaninglessly, you might feel so miserable.
You may just give up not being able to endure.
But that was not the case with Joseph. He always trusted God who was watching him, and he firmly believed in the love of God who gives the best at the right time.
He never lost hope even in depressing trials, and he acted with faithfulness and goodness being patient.
James 1:3-4 says, “…knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I urge you to cultivate this patience completely.
I also urge you to look up to God who will answer you in any kind of trial.
I exhort you to win the victory thinking of the heavenly rewards doing God’s work, even if you face hardships without apparent reason.
That patience will increase your faith and broaden and deepen your heart to make it more mature.
Hebrews 10:36 says, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”
As written, you will experience the blessings and answers of God that He promised if you completely accomplish patience.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we need patience to go to the heavenly kingdom.
Some say that they will enjoy the world when they are young and begin to attend church after they become old.
Some others lead a diligent life in faith in hope of the Lord’s coming, but then they lose patience and they change their minds.
Because the Lord doesn’t come as quickly as they expect, they feel hard to continue to be diligent in faith.
They say they will take a rest in circumcising their heart and doing God’s work, and when they can be sure of seeing the sign of the Lord’s coming, then they will try harder.
But nobody knows when God will call our spirit, or when the Lord will come.
Even if we can know that time in advance, we cannot have faith as much as we want.
Men cannot just have the spiritual faith to receive salvation as they want. It is given only by the grace of God.
The enemy devil and Satan will not just leave them to receive salvation so easily either.
Moreover your goal is not just to receive salvation and go to Heaven.
You have the hope to go into New Jerusalem in Heaven and you do everything in patience.

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Psalm 126:5-6 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
There must certainly be our efforts, tears, and mourning while we sow the seeds and grow them.
But at the end of it, we will surely have the joy of abundant harvest according to the rules of justice.
God waits a thousand years like a day to gain true children and He bore with the pain of giving His one and only Son for us.
The Lord endured the suffering of the cross, and the Holy Spirit also bears with inexpressible groanings during the time of human cultivation.
I urge you to cultivate complete patience remembering this love of God.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have fruits of blessings in your heavenly houses as well as enjoying the true joy of harvest from time to time on this earth.

[Amen]

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