Read: Galatians 5:19-23
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
This week’s “fruit of the Spirit” is patience. Patience is the offspring of other virtues paired. Love and wisdom produce patience; so does love and grace. When our heart is invested, and given the added benefit of perspective, patience is a naturally occurring virtue, and fruit of the Spirit. We are patient with the things that we care about. We are patient or have the capacity to be patient, with those whom we love.
Another factor for patience is a positive perspective. Faith, hope, and a sense of providence are necessary to have patience. It has to do with the underlying belief, confidence, or assurance that things are in God’s hands and that things will work out. We can have patience, even in challenging times, when we believe that ultimately God is in control, that God holds the future, that “love wins”. We can give up control to God, where it has always been and always belonged anyway.
Conversely, there are qualities that work against producing the Spiritual fruit of patience. Paul lists those in the first part of the scripture reading; he calls them the “works of the flesh”. This scripture passage from St. Paul is a warning from a concerned pastor. The Galatian churches were divided, contentious, judgmental and far more invested in the “works of the flesh” than the ways of the Spirit.
So how do we spend our time? How do we invest our energies? Where is our heart? The “works of the flesh” will not produce the fruit of the Spirit. When we live empowered by the Spirit our lives are abundant with fruit of the Spirit; when we live conflicted to the ways of the Spirit, our lives will not.
Pastor Rob Nystrom