The Fruit of the Ruach is Patience
DIG: What is the difference between endurance and patience? Why is ADONAI patient with us? Why are we to model our patience after the Lord? What should patience produce? What would happen if ADONAI fixed all of our problems? What is our great cloud of witnesses and what do they teach us today? What does the second grouping of fruit point to?
REFLECT: Do people have to walk on eggshells around you? Are you longsuffering most of the time? When do you lose your patience? What is your reality right now? What are you going through right now that requires patience? Why shouldn’t that surprise you? What has ADONAI taught you through the trials and suffering of life?
When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv – Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stands in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply shows us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.
When we get to the fruit of the Ruach in 5:22 and 23, the first grouping of three, love, joy, and peace are God-ward, everything flows from that, and are all single syllable words; the second grouping of three, patience, kindness, and goodness are man-ward, how we treat each other, and are all two syllable words; and the third grouping of three, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are in-ward, it’s how we become what ADONAI wants us to be, and are all three syllable words.
There are two words in the B’rit Chadashah to describe this idea of patience. One is hupomone, which is a passive word and it means to have a burden placed on you and you have to bear that burden. It may be a health concern. Maybe a family issue. But something has been placed on you and you have to bear it. The word that is generally used to interpret hupomone is endurance. But the word for patience that is used here is a different word (Greek: makrothumia). It is a combination of two words, makro, meaning large, in this context it would mean long, and thumia, meaning fire, in this context it means passion, or anger or temper. So when you put those two words together it means long-tempered, and it has to do with tolerance and longsuffering that endure injuries inflicted by others, and the calm willingness to accept situations that are irritating or painful.
Everybody knows someone who is short-tempered. You never know what’s going to set them off. You walk on egg-shells around them. Well the patience that the Bible describes here is the opposite of that. This is a person, not with a short-fuse, but a long-fuse. So biblical patience is the ability to understand that God is in control. It is the ability to turn loose of the little irritating things of life that really in the big scope of things don’t matter. It is the ability to accept delay or disappointment with grace because you know God is in control and you trust Him.
God Himself is slow to anger (Psalm 86:15). ADONAI is patient so that we will be saved. Now what if God, willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath designed for destruction (Romans 9:22)? Why is He patient? The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some consider slowness. Rather, He is being patient, makrothumia, toward you – not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance (Second Peter 3:9).
Whether you are a patient person or not, the Bible says that we are to model ourselves after the patience of our heavenly Father. as believers should never belittle the riches of God’s kindness and tolerance and patience – not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance (Romans 2:4), they should themselves show those attributes of their heavenly Father. We are commanded to imitate our Lord’s patience (Psalm 103:8). Hebrews 10:36 tells us that we need perseverance, makrothumia, so that, after you have done the will of god, you may receive the promise of His coming (Second Peter 3:4).
Why do we need patience? Newsflash: because life is hard. It’s hard because of physical things. It’s hard because of emotional things. It’s hard because of relationships. It’s hard because of financial pressures. It’s just plain hard. And we need the ability to accept delay and disappointment with grace. We need the ability to let go of the little things that, in the big scope of things, don’t matter very much. We need to have the ability to understand that God is in control because life is hard.
So here’s where you start. You define your reality. Our reality changes as we go through life. What your reality was five years ago, may not be what your reality is today. Your reality right now may not even be what it is tomorrow. You may get a phone call. Something may happen in your life or the life of your family and your reality changes in a second. You may have already experienced that. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve had cancer and you are going through treatment, you’re going through a divorce, your child has rebelled, or maybe you have just lost your job. Your reality has changed, but that’s where you start finding this patience that ADONAI gives to us.
Peter tells us that we shouldn’t be surprised at the fiery ordeal taking place . . . to test you – as though something strange were happening to you (First Peter 4:12). Every one of us is going to have those same kinds of issues sometime in our lives, or someone whom you love will have them. So we shouldn’t be surprised. But what does the Bible say about that?
In the book of Hebrews there was a group of new Jewish believers who were somewhere in the diaspora. But they were undergoing great persecution because of their faith in Messiah. But some Judaizers (see Ag – Who Were the Judaizers?) came in and confused them with legalism. They said to those baby believers that believing in Yeshua was tolerable, if that’s what they wanted to do, but they needed to return to the Levitical system of sacrifices (see the commentary on Hebrews Cb – The Insufficiency of the Levitical Sacrifices). In other words, they needed to return to legalism. And the writer of Hebrews wrote to them saying: Remember the former days when, after you were enlightened [saved], you endured a great struggle with sufferings. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to abuses and afflictions, and other times you became partners with those who were treated this way. For you suffered along with the prisoners and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better and lasting possession. Therefore, don’t throw away that courage of yours, which carries with it such a great reward. For you need patience so that, by having done what God wills, you may receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:32-36). So how do we get that patience?
James says to us: Consider it great joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. Now that’s a strange thing to say. How can you have great joy when you have cancer? Why does your spouse run off with another? When your child is molested? Here is the answer: Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. And let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4).
About ten years after writing to the Galatians, Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, saying: We also boast in suffering (there is that strange concept again) – knowing that suffering produces patience; and patience produces character; and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4). So here is the biblical secret to spiritual maturity. When we face trials and suffering, and we endure with patience, we grow to be who God wants us to be.
Let me ask you a question. What happens when a child grows up and every time they get in trouble, every time they have a problem with a teacher, or coach, or any authority figure, a parent rushes in to fix it? What happens when that child is not able to stand on their own two feet? We teach our children, when you fall down, you get yourself up, brush yourself off, and get going again. What happens when a parent rescues their child all the time? You end up with a spoiled child. They never learn to deal with the real problems in life.
Why would ADONAI do that to us? That’s what we do every time we have a problem. We say, “Lord, I don’t know if You’ve been paying attention, but I’ve got a heart problem. Fix that.” I’ve got cancer, Lord, fix that.” “I’ve got a broken marriage. I’ve got a child in rebellion. I’ve got this problem at work. I’ve got this financial problem. God fix my problem.” If Ha’Shem came to the rescue every time we asked Him to fix our problems, we would be spiritually spoiled children, and we would never be able to deal with the problems of life.
Why would ADONAI do that to us? He wouldn’t. So, He teaches us through the suffering; He teaches us through the trials of life (see the commentary on Hebrews Cv – Faith Through Trials). We live in a broken world as a result of sin. He teaches us patience through our suffering. Therefore, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us (see the commentary on Hebrews Cl – The Hall of Faith). The heroes of our faith didn’t live from trials, they lived through trials. They have been persecuted; they have gone through everything you’ve gone through, now they are in heaven, and they are witnesses that you can make it also. Your patience can produce character which produces hope. Haven’t you gone through something before where God was with you through it? Why would He forsake you now? He won’t! So let us also get rid of every weight and entangling sin. Let us run with patience the race set before us, focusing on Yeshua, the initiator and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2a).
Dear Heavenly Father, Praise You that we can run with patience our life race. Sometimes we get so tired in the running and the next hill/trial looks so bid, but we always have You in us and with us: For God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5c). What a comfort You are!
How reassuring to know that when we feel hurt when something bad happens to us, first we must examine our hearts to look for sin; but if we come up clean we can trust in Your love and wisdom to guide all that touches the life of Your child: Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Praise You that You never get tired, never confused, never preoccupied. You are always on top of all that touches Your child and your steadfast, loyal chesed love is guiding our lives more than we can ever imagine. As we look into Your loving face and nail pierced hands, we can go thru life with patience, knowing that this life is only a breath and soon we will forever spend a joyful eternity with You! For our trouble, light and momentary, is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, as we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. (Second Corinthians 4:17-18). We love You and long to please You with our lives now, in joyful thanks for Your great love! In your holy Son’s name and power of resurrection. Amen