Devotional for Monday, May 4, 2020
2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord does not delay His promise…but is patient with you…”
Today’s fruit of the Spirit is patience. All of the fruit of the Spirit are characteristics that find their source in God Himself. None is truer of this than patience.
I love doing word studies in the New Testament. There is so much meaning and insight to glean from just one word in the Scriptures when you dig deep to discover the actual connotations of that word in the original language. The lexicon that I use states that there are a number of instances of the word patience found in the New Testament, but two main connotations. The first is the “state of remaining tranquil while awaiting an outcome.” This is the type of patience disciples have with God in waiting for the Lord to answer prayer and act in their lives. That is not the connotation of the occurrence of patience in Galatians 5:22. The second meaning and the focus of our fruit of the spirit is the “state of being able to bear up under provocation.” (BDAG, 612) Another word for this is longsuffering. This is applicable to both God and humanity.
Paul writes in Romans 2:4, “…do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” If you dwell upon the longsuffering patience of God, it will drive you to repentance!
To fully understand the fruit of patience, you must meditate on the patience of God in the Bible. God was longsuffering with a rebellious people both in the wilderness wandering and the centuries of disobedience of the nation of Israel. He passed over the sins previously committed in the Old Testament because he patiently waited for the fullness of time to come and Jesus’ ministry to commence (Rom. 3:25).
How many chances has the Lord given you? How many times has he forgiven you of sin? How many times has the Lord remained patient with us, a people of unclean lips? (Isaiah 6:5) The answer to that question is…more times that I can count.
In addition to being persecuted and suffering for the cause of Christ, the recipients of 2 Peter were mocked for patiently waiting for the day of the Lord. Peter reminded them that the Lord has tarried His return (and still does!) because of his longsuffering and desire that none should perish but to bring all to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
God is patient even with unrepentant, sinful humanity! He has given a world that rejects Him coming up on 2,000 years – generation after generation – the opportunity to repent from their wicked ways and turn to him. While we can say with confidence that this forbearance will not last forever, we can stand in awe and love at the God of mercy and PATIENCE! Just think about that! God has been so patient with sinful humanity since the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, that he has tarried long enough for you to be born! So that, even though you are a sinner, you have had the opportunity to encounter the Gospel and repent! Oh, how God has been patient with me! Let the depth of that longsuffering for you empower you to embody that same patience with those around you in the Holy Spirit!
If God has been so patient with you, He calls you to be patient with those around you – and not just fellow believers. You see, God right now is tarrying his return not for the church, but for the lost and dying world so that the church may grow in number! He is tarrying the coming of Christ, because he desires a people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. “And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14)
Patiently be the light of Christ. Do not be downtrodden when those around you reject the gospel. Remain patient. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. He is with you as you carry forth His truth. Remember the great hymn of the faith,
Though they are slighting Him,
Still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive,
Plead with them earnestly,
Plead with them gently,
He will forgive if they only believe.
Rescue the perishing;
Duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor
The Lord will provide
Back to the narrow way
Patiently win them
Tell the poor wanderer
A Savior has died.
Rescue the perishing
Care for the dying
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save!