Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind.

The Greek word translated as patience or long-suffering is “makrothymia”. It’s used about 14 times in the New Testament, 5 times in reference to God Himself. Of course God would have this kind of patience, after all this isn’t the fruit of the Christian…it’s the fruit of the Spirit. We cannot manifest this fruit by ourselves. It isn’t a result, it isn’t even a reward - it’s a fruit. We don’t work for patience, we allow it to grow. The more time we spend with the Holy Spirit, the more these fruit come out in our everyday life.

The word translated as patience - “makrothymia” - has two principle meanings:

The first meaning is what we normally think of as “patience”. That is to say endurance, longsuffering, or being slow to avenge yourself. It’s about how long you can wait for something or how far you can put up with someone. This is how makrothymia is used in Ephesians 4:2, “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Colossians 3:12-13 tells us why believer’s should be patient with each other. “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

Makrothymia is also used to describe God’s endurance with sinners in Romans 9:22 “In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, He is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction.” 2 Peter 3:15 says that it is God’s patience that gives sinners time to repent. So God’s patience with us, His willingness to put up with the crazy things people do, is an absolute lifesaver!

The second meaning of makrothymia is different than endurance and longsuffering. Patience also means stability. It isn’t just how long we can wait, it’s how long we can wait without changing. Christ-like patience means it doesn’t matter what happens, we remain the same.

This meaning of patience is brought out in Hebrews 6:11-12, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Do you see it? We’re supposed to imitate those men and women who patiently inherited the promises - the ones who consistently did what they were commanded. You see, this is more than “putting up” with someone! This type of patience means that no matter what happens…you refuse to change what you believe.

Actually, there is another Greek word (often translated as “patience” also) that brings out this side of our patience. This word is  “hypomone”. This is essentially being stable and unswerving in what you believe. For a believer, it means you get off the roller coaster. You’’re not up one day and down the next. When this fruit is matured in a Christian’s life, no outside circumstance can ever change what they believe - or how they behave.

This is the kind of patience Hebrews 12:1 speaks of. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” In other words, let’s throw off the sin that tangles us up and just be consistent!

If you want to live a successful Spiritual life, consistency and stability are crucial! No one can be on top of things one day and then under the circumstances the next day and still expect to succeed spiritually.

Jacob’s oldest son Reuben was an example of a life that failed because of a lack of stability. Reuben was the firstborn and he had the legal privilege to inherit the birthright. But he disqualified himself because of his instability. Genesis 49:3-4 says, Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel.. Reuben knew what was right, sometimes he even did what was right. Remember, he saved Joseph from his other brothers! But there was two sides to this man. He was constantly wavering back and forth between right and wrong. Because of this instability, this lack of patience, He disqualified himself.

Remember, a person who continues in two natures will usually settle into the lower one - the sinful one. It’s important to stay stable in the new life God gave you!

So have a look at your life. Are you constantly moving back and forth between two natures? Do you feel like Jekyll and Hyde? You’re in need of the fourth fruit of the Spirit, my friend! Patience - stability - will grow naturally when you spend time every day in God’s presence!

James 5:7-8 “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”


  1. This is good Matt. Your blog is such a blessing. Praise God for His annointing upon you!!