When troubled or in pain, we turn to people who will listen patiently to our cries of distress. But I wonder how often we seek to be the person who gently steps up to share a hurting friend's burden for as long as it lasts?
Paul encouraged believers to "put on" a heart of compassion, kindness, and patience. In other words, we don't come from the womb pre-equipped with these traits. Rather, we receive on-the-job training in imitating Christ as we bear with and forgive one another. The Holy Spirit is more than willing to instruct us in the proper ways to grow spiritual fruit. The Lord then provides opportunities for us to try out our newly developed skills.
We tend to classify patience rather narrowly as "waiting." That's certainly part of the definition, but so are concepts like endurance, perseverance, and persistence. When we're relating to others as Paul challenged us to do, we are not simply waiting for them to become better versions of themselves. We are enduring their hardship alongside them or persisting in our attempts to offer aid. We're caring, listening, and serving however we can. In a world that insists on doing everything quickly, patience is an amazing gift to give another person.
By placing patience on the list of spiritual fruit, God indicated that every believer could develop this trait. Whatever additional gifts and talents you possess, patience is an attribute that you can put on. Practice it for the glory of God and as a way to serve your fellow man.
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