The Fruit of Patience
“Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forebearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
Anyone who truly knows God through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus, knows that God is patient. God described Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7 as, “A compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” And while He goes on to say that He will not leave sin unpunished, it is still His desire that none would perish, but everyone would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Have you ever wondered why God hasn’t long since brought an end to the wickedness on this earth by sending Christ for His Bride, the Church? We see how He dealt with sinners in the days of Noah, and with the evil in Sodom and Gomorrah. Has God changed since those days? Has His hatred of sin dissipated? It cannot be so, for Numbers 23:19 teaches us, “God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change His mind.” So why does He tarry His return?
The answer is that He is patient—long suffering. His patience with rebellious sinners is an expression of His kindness, which is meant to lead the wayward to repentance. His patience has nothing to do with His anger towards sin, rather it is meant to woo the lost back to Him. Therefore, patience is at the core of who God is, and how He acts. Patience is not apathy or indifference. It is not weakness. On the contrary, His patience reveals His awesome power and His gentle kindness at the same time. Only God could choose to show such restraint in the midst of His wrath against sin.
So why is it important that we are patient with others? As believers, our purpose on this earth is to glorify Christ in all we do and say. This means that our behavior and attitude should give an accurate portrayal of our God. Our lives should be a reflection of Christ. When people see us, they see Jesus, not because we are so good, but because Christ in us is good.
The “fruit” of our lives should be spiritual, not carnal. We have been redeemed so that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control are born through us, drawing others to Christ.
Father, Thank You for Your patience with me. Your kindness continually leads me to repentance. Please help me to show others Your patience through how I live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.