Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience - Lawrence

In my regular monthly blogs for this site I have been looking at the fruit of the Spirit as named by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians 5: 22,23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This month I will be considering the fruit of patience.
In the past, I have thought of patience as a passive thing. If one is a patient with an illness one passively gets treated in various ways such as intravenous fluids, surgery, or medications; tests, physio-therapy or psycho-analysis. In other words, things get done to one’s body or mind by professionals; these professionals actively perform some treatment while the patient passively receives the treatment in order to become healed.
I thought of the spiritual fruit of patience in much the same way. One meets up with many difficulties as one goes through life and one learns to passively accept them with patience. However, as I have been reading the scriptures on patience and meditating on the words I have read, I began to realize that there is more to patience than passive acceptance of life’s trials.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7. 
Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything to stand firm. Ephesians 6: 12, 13.
I begin to understand that we aren’t just to be aware of the evil forces; we don’t just suffer the evil forces to perform their worst upon our spirits; we don’t just wait patiently for reprieve or passively accept the evil that is done to our souls so that we grow in patient acceptance. No, we are to fight against the evil; we put on God’s armour; no matter how often the evil comes upon us, we patiently endure every attack by putting on God’s armour and fighting against the evil.
Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6: 14-17.
We discover that the fruit of patience grows actively not passively. We must actively participate in the growth of patience; we must defend the fruit of patience as it grows; we must protect it as it grows by fighting in alliance with the Holy Spirit against the evil one. We are not to passively endure whatever comes upon us but actively endure against whatever would destroy our spiritual fruit or plant at whatever stage of growth it is in.
Things that prevent our spiritual fruit from growing to maturity may come from within us or from without. We must have patient endurance to withstand the evil forces that would destroy our spiritual growth, attack our spiritual growth, uproot our spiritual growth, starve our spiritual growth, or choke our spiritual growth.
Some of the things that can prevent the spiritual fruit of patience from coming to maturity are very subtle and can even masquerade as the spiritual plants and fruit themselves. They are like the weeds that grow in our natural gardens. The weeds take on the look and characteristics of surrounding good plants while they become stronger and more aggressive while they put down deep roots and finally choke out the good plants.
The fruit of patience doesn’t grow in passivity; it needs to actively endure and stand firm against the evil forces with the strength of the Holy Spirit and the whole armour of God.
© Judith LawrenceFirst published in May 2008 in www.judithlawrence.ca in Meditations

Published by Wipf and Stock


Peter Black said...

Excellent, Judith!
That the development of patience in our lives as spiritual fruit comes more through our active participation in the rigours of spiritual engagement, than through mere passive acceptance, is a great insight.
Thank you.

Judith Lawrence said...

Hi Peter,
Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject.
Sorry I didn't get back to you yesterday on this.
Your TWG blog "Yes, We Can!" is somewhat along the same lines. Yes, we can do it, whatever "it" happens to be. But, again,sometimes it takes patience to realize the end result!

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