Patience: A Fruit of the Holy Spirit
(38) Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. (39) “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” (40) Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
When Jesus received word of Lazarus’ death, he had already been dead for 2 days. Instead of rushing out to save the day, Jesus chose to stay put for another 2 days. According to Jewish culture in those days, a deceased person’s spirit remains in their body for up to three days after death. It was commonly believed that the dead could come back to life during this 3-day period, but after the third day there was no hope for resurrection.
So, you can only imagine the anxiety that Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha were feeling. They sent word to Jesus, who they knew could raise their brother from the dead, but he wasn’t showing up right away. As each day passed, Lazarus became more and more dead and I’m sure they became more and more frustrated.
When Jesus finally arrived, all hope was gone. Lazarus’ body was decaying in his tomb and as far as they were concerned, the window for resurrection had passed. But in that moment, Jesus showed that his power to move in a situation is not constrained to a certain time table or people’s expectations. He showed that he is always in control.
When Jesus was called up to Heaven, He left us the greatest gift of all. . . the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift, we get to take God with us everywhere we go. As we allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives, it produces fruit within each and every one of us. In Galatians 5:22, it says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The story of Lazarus highlights the importance of patience in our lives.
My wife and I have been working with our oldest son on this concept of patience. The one thing I say over and over again, is that patience equals trust. You can patiently wait for me to cut up your waffles in the morning because you can trust that I will, in fact, cut them up and give them to you. When you don’t trust the outcome, patience goes out the window.
With the Holy Spirit guiding our lives, we can ALWAYS trust the outcome. Even when we don’t feel like God is working, he’s working. When we don’t feel like life is going the way we want it to go, we can always trust in His power over our lives. Not only will the Holy Spirit give us patience because we can trust in Him, but He will also move through us to impact the people in our lives. The wonderful thing about the Fruits of the Spirit is they’re not meant for our enjoyment only. When we model patience in our lives, others are positively impacted by it and more often than not, that makes room for the Holy Spirit to move in them as well.
As Kingdom Men, we are constantly in a battle against an enemy that won’t let up. Sometimes he gets the best of us. Doubt, worry, fear start to creep in, but we have something that the enemy cannot defend against…the Holy Spirit. When we align ourselves with the Holy Spirit, He will give us the strength, wisdom and desire to overcome. You can always trust in His power.
Today’s Prayer: Lord, first of all, thank you for always having our back! We know that you are here and your power is always at work in our lives. As we read over these words, I pray that you give us the peace that only you can provide and with that peace, the trust that we’re always covered by you. Even in the most difficult situations, you are there. In Jesus name, Amen.