Bible Passage: Galatians 5:22-23
Preacher: Ste Greenow
Series: Helping Our Community
As we continue our series looking at how we can grow in helping our community by allowing the Holy Spirit to grow the fruit of the Spirit in us:
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…
We come to the next fruit of the Spirit: Patience.
I am an impatient person. I have learnt that often the reason for my impatience is that I am a product of an instant culture; our culture that says we need next day, even same day delivery! Our culture that puts so much emphasis on achievement and progress. Then there’s the unlimited ways we can overcome our hangry times with speedy food delivery services. And of course, not forgetting the way that relationships and parenting can test our patience.
Impatience seems to go close in hand with ‘instant and hurry’. Instant and hurry puts the emphasis on ‘now’. It can often lead to frustration; we can become dismissive and passive. They lead us to cut corners and make irrational choices.
Patience on the other hand, ties nicely with ‘slow and steady’. Slow and steady prepares us for the long run, it grows in us endurance and keeps the pace of life sustainable. It’s often the case that patient people are happier people. You are more present in relationships, and you’re ok with the unknown and uncertainty that so often surrounds us in life.
There’s a story in the Old Testament, way back in Genesis, which reminds us that ‘impatience’ isn’t just a result of our ‘instant and hurry’ culture, it’s something that has been around since the beginning of time. In the story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:27-34), we see how Esau, like me, had brought into the lie that instant and hurry is better than slow and steady. He was hangry, and his impatience got the better of him. He exchanged his birthright for a bowl of stew.
We all need to flip the problem upside down, because it’s slow and steady that wins the race.
If only Esau had paused, and taken a moment to reflect on what he was giving up. If only he had taken time our in his day to keep himself energised with food, he wouldn’t have been so hurried into giving up his birthright.
Ultimately, it’s the Holy Spirit that grows patience within us. He does that by pointing us to Jesus’ example, so that we can become more like Jesus. Jesus is patient in his love for us, He is patient with our unbelief and lack of faith.
Imagine what it would look like then for us all to grow in our patience. We would have more grace for living with each other’s faults. We would have more time for meaningful community. We would be more present with one another. And for many of us, our overall quality of life would benefit from the lack of hurry which is often played out in us with anxiety and stress.
Growing in patience and slowing things down in life will help us prioritise what really matters in our community. That’s how we help our community by growing in patience.