In this sermon, part of a series on the Fruit of the Spirit, Pastor Neil reveals what the Bible has to say about waiting for patience. Here are some excerpts:

What Paul has to Say About Waiting for Patience

In 1 Corinthians 13:4, Paul says that “love is patient.” Patience, in fact, is the first quality of love he names in his magnum opus on love in 1 Corinthians 13. Patience with others is an indicator of the maturity of your love. Likewise, impatience is a sign, not necessarily of the shallowness of your love, but of its immaturity and the need for it to grow – or grow up.

Waiting for Patience is Not Easy

Be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Easy to say, right? But patience is needed not just with people. We need it in and for all the varied seasons and circumstances we encounter in life. One of my “go-to” verses in the New Testament is Romans 12:12, where Paul says: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Putting these three things into practice in our lives would benefit us all. But let’s just focus on the second: Be patient in affliction. Think of affliction not just as a particular illness or injury, a chronic condition or a disability that limits you in some way. All of these come under the umbrella of “affliction.” But more broadly, think of any situation or circumstance in your life that is less than desirable and calls for patience to put up with it.

A Dictionary Definition

One dictionary defines patience as the capacity to remain self-controlled [another fruit of the Spirit] despite difficult circumstances or actions that might be expected to cause anger or upset (Revell Bible Dictionary, 758). Another defines it as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset (Oxford Languages). Still another says it is the will or ability to wait or endure without complaint (www.yourdictionary.com ). Whichever definition you prefer, it’s no wonder the fruit of patience is in such short supply. It calls for attitudes and resources that don’t come naturally to most of us.

Be Slow to Speak and Slow to Become Angry

In James 1:19 we are told to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” This has everything to do with our penchant to speak and/or act impatiently in all kinds of situations. This penchant for impatience is one reason it is helpful to live by the rule: Quick. Slow. Slow: Be quick to listen. Make sure you hear what is being said (or not said). Don’t fly off the handle. Lead with your ears, not with your mouth or emotions. Think before you speak. Pray before you speak. And, like God, who is always compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love, don’t let anger control you. Don’t let your anger get out of control. Remember, as James goes on to say, anger doesn’t bring about the kind of righteous life God desires (1:20).

Patience Pleases God

Anger itself is not a sin, as Paul points out in Ephesians 4:26. You can be angry and not sin. It depends on what you’re angry about and what you do with your anger. You can be angry about something and not be an angry person. But … if anger is one of the distinctive “fruits” of your life, you can be sure that patience is not. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that pleases God. Anger is not.

March 13, 2022

Ephesians 4: 1-6

Dr. Neil Smith

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