After love, joy, and peace, Paul turns our attention to three inner-qualities: Patience, Kindness, and Goodness. Love, joy, and peace are fruit that comes to us from God through the Holy Spirit. With these next three qualities, we turn inward, all the while leaning on the Spirit to help us.
Patience demonstrates our capacity to accept and tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without becoming angry or upset. Anger and distress are emotions we express when things don’t go our way. It doesn’t matter if the root-cause is us or an outside force. None of us like it when things don’t go according to our plan. We prefer to live problem-free lives. We understand that suffering is part of life, but we don’t welcome it. Patience can be an elusive character trait to capture. Growing in patience can be a painful lesson if we rely on our own power. However, we don’t need to depend on ourselves. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us to lean on. When we are patient in times of difficulty we are expressing our confidence that the Lord is in control of the situation and He will work it out for our good.
Faith is expressed by how we respond to the God work is doing in and around us. How we respond reveals what we truly believe about the Lord, about ourselves, and others.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
The more our expression of faith resembles holiness, the sweeter our response is to the Lord who delights in us as we grow nearer to Him spiritually. Spiritual growth measures how much more like the Lord we become over time.
Prayer: Father God help me grow to be more like You in my daily life. May my response reflect my trust in You and honor You in every way, especially when things don’t go according to how I planned them or don’t happen as quickly as I would prefer. Let me be confident in You in difficult times as well as the during the good. Help me celebrate You in all that I say and do regardless of the circumstances or situation I face. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.