Patience is a virtue…we’ve heard it said. I’ve also heard, “Never pray to God for patience.” The reason being: God will give it, not as an immediate gift, but as a product of testing. Even without “praying for it”, I’ve felt like I was on the receiving end of those circumstances many times myself. It’s no accident that patience (longsuffering) is listed as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, where each listed isn’t called that for nothing. I’ve found that all those fruits (love, joy, peace, etc.) are not gifts given immediately upon salvation or request, but products of testing as well, grown within the believer as they are oftentimes barraged by less than ideal circumstances.
Are you praying for love to be present as a fruit of the Spirit in your life? Expect to be around people difficult to love. Want joy? You may be given times that are difficult to deal with. Peace? You may go through a life storm.
Why is that? I’ve found skills in life are acquired at a deeper level by doing rather than receiving. Fruit grown is sweeter to the grower than what they just happen upon in the market. Why else do we need these fruits, unless we plan to use them when we need them, and their effect is more lasting when it took work time and effort to acquire. Living in ideal circumstances can often swing us toward being in a good state of mind, so the fruit is needed when we’re being tested in less than ideal circumstances.
So, believers, pursue growth of the fruit of the Spirit in your life, but expect the possibility of annoyances, problems, and hurts. After all has settled in those times, you may find you’ve grown and gained, and using what you’ve gained and grown in, God’s Kingdom can grow too. If you’re having a hard time, look for how it can better you and seek God throughout.