NUMBER FOUR: PATIENCE

Bemis Group PhotoBY:  Ashton E. Bemis

E-MAIL ADDRESS ashton.e.bemis@gmail.com

BIBLE TEXT Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT): “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.”

PERSONAL REFLECTION:  The Fruit of the Spirit is a subject I think about often (and not just because I have it tattooed on my back). It’s one of those verses nearly everyone can quote or sing in a cute little song, but more importantly, it’s a guideline for living a life worthy of His cause (which is the reason why I have it tattooed on my back). I don’t know how it goes for you, but as I read through the list it goes something like this:
Love? Check. I love people.
Joy? Check. Who doesn’t like being happy?
Peace? Yes. Peace is a must.
Patience? Um…Next!
Kindness? Got it.
…and the list goes on. All of them sound great, and sure, I struggle in each area from time to time, but that patience…that’s a difficult one. I’m sure I’m not the only one. If I were to rank the parts of the Fruit of the Spirit by level of difficulty, patience would definitely be at the top, so why is it listed fourth? Are they listed in random order, or is there significance to their placement? I decided to do some digging.

Let me begin by telling you I am no theologian, but I love symbolism and metaphors. I find it not only poetic but significant. As I’m sure you already know, numbers are extremely symbolic in the Bible so why should the order of the Fruit of the Spirit be any different? I wish I had the time and space to go through each one, but I will focus on number four: patience. What is Biblically significant about the number four? Well, the fourth day of Creation is when time was born–the moon and the sun, night and day. In turn, there are four phases of the moon, four seasons, four cardinal directions, four basic elements, and well, you get the idea. There are several references to the number four throughout Scripture and many of them refer to some sort of cycle of Creation. Okay, bear with me. In nearly every natural cycle there is a point of death or dormancy–a point when not everything is completely pleasant. However, if you give it time, the living and thriving point of the cycle returns. So it is with patience. Google dictionary defines patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” In other words, delay, trouble, and suffering are just a part of the process and we have to learn to be willing to wait for the cycle to run its course. This, I believe, is why patience was listed fourth.

I encourage you to study numerical significance in regards to the other parts of the fruits of the Spirit. It’s extremely interesting! Or I guess it’s possible that I’m just a nerd.

PRAYER: God, thank you for all that you do. I pray that you would allow me to walk in the complete Fruit of the Spirit and to understand that patience is just part of the process. You are a creative and awesome God, and I love you. In your Son’s name, Amen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ashton is a wife, a mom to four furkids, and has a career in Creativity (i.e. photographer, graphic designer, artist, etc.). She is looking to add “author” to that list. She loves going to the movies with her husband, Kyle, reading, traveling, and you guessed it, creating.

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