Patience and Kindness

God’s chosen ones … put on … kindness … and patience.—Colossians 3:12

The fourth fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul is patience. The King James Version uses the word “longsuffering.” Someone has suggested that longsuffering is “love stretched out.” It is so elastic and tough that it doesn’t break up into impatience. It maintains a patient attitude amidst the flux of human events.

Patience, however, must not be confused with indifference. One group of people in ancient history—the Stoics—made indifference a virtue. Some people in the early centuries of the church tried to Christianize this characteristic, but it couldn’t be done. A Christian is someone who cares. Because we care, we suffer, but in the midst of suffering, we discover the Spirit’s enabling patience.

A woman, after finding Christ, went through a time of great persecution from her family. She said, “I have never been a patient woman, but since Christ and the Holy Spirit came into my life, He has turned me upside down and inside out. I always had to have the last word, but my last word is silence.” Now, whenever she says something, her family listens, because she speaks out of the depth of silence. The Amplified Bible presents Galatians 5:22 as, “But the fruit of the … Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is … patience.”

The next fruit is kindness. This may seem a very ordinary virtue, but yet, without it, the other virtues are incomplete. It is not by chance that this virtue is in the middle of the nine, for it puts flavor in all the others.

Prayer

Father, I want all the other virtues to be flavored with kindness, so that the spirit of kindness pervades everything I do and everything I am. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

1Th 1; Rm 5:3; 12:12; Lk 21:19; Jms 1:4

How did Paul relate patience to tribulation?

In what did Paul rejoice?

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