Series: Fruits of the Spirit

Title: 4. Patience #patience


  • 2015-01-11: Richardson
  • 2015-01-24: White Rock Lake


  1. 462: “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine!”
  2. 570: “Not I, but Christ”
  3. 567: “Have Thine Own Way, Lord”

Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23

  1. Introduction: Abram1
    1. Left his hometown at God’s command and spent most of his life traveling
      1. (Genesis 12:2-4: God’s first promise to make a great nation of Abram. Abram is 75 years old.)
    2. Some time later: Genesis 15:1-6: Abram’s great desire was as yet unmet, so God promised him a son
    3. Years passed and the promise was unfulfilled.
    4. At one point (about 10 years after God’s first promise to Abram), Abram and Sarai his wife conspired to implement God’s covenant for Him. So, Abram had a son Ishmael by Sarai’s servant Hagar.
    5. 13 years later: Genesis 21:2-7: God fulfilled His promise according to His own time
    6. Hebrews 6:15 summarizes it this way: “And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.”2
  2. Definition
    1. Fruits of the Spirit: Patience vs. long-suffering. I wanted to know about the original: μακροθυμία.
    2. William Barclay defines it thus:3
      1. “This word has two main directions of meaning.
      2. “(a) It describes the spirit which will never give in and which, because it endures to the end, will reap the reward. Its meaning can best be seen from the fact that a Jewish writer used it to describe what he called “the Roman persistency which would never make peace under defeat.” In their great days the Romans were unconquerable; they might lose a battle, they might even lose a campaign, but they could not conceive of losing a war. In the greatest disaster it never occurred to them to admit defeat. Christian patience is the spirit which never admits defeat, which will not be broken by any misfortune or suffering, by any disappointment or discouragement, but which persists to the end.
      3. “(b) But makrothumia has an even more characteristic meaning than that. It is the characteristic Greek word for patience with men.
      4. “Chrysostom defined it as the spirit which has the power to take revenge but never does so.
      5. “Lightfoot defined it as the spirit which refuses to retaliate.
      6. “To take a very imperfect analogy—it is often possible to see a puppy and a very large dog together. The puppy yaps at the big dog, worries him, bites him, and all the time the big dog, who could annihilate the puppy with one snap of his teeth, bears the puppy’s impertinence with a forbearing dignity.
      7. Makrothumia is the spirit which bears insult and injury without bitterness and without complaint. It is the spirit which can suffer unpleasant people with graciousness and fools without irritation.”
  3. Three areas of patience
    1. Patient persistence
      1. Intro to the Maccabees
      2. 1 Maccabees 8:4: “By planning and persistence they [the Romans] subjugated the whole region, although it was very remote from their own. They also subjugated the kings who had come against them from the far corners of the earth until they crushed them and inflicted on them severe defeat. The rest paid tribute to them every year.”4
      3. William Barclay: Μακροθυμία is “the ability to bear with them even when they are wrong, even when they are cruel and insulting. It is a great word. The writer of First Maccabees (8:4) says that it was by makrothumia that the Romans became masters of the world, and by that he means the Roman persistence which would never make peace with an enemy even in defeat, a kind of conquering patience. Patience is the quality of a man who may lose a battle but who will never admit defeat in a campaign.”5
      4. James 5:10ff gives us a Biblical example of this kind of patience—patient persistence. (makrothumia here occurs together with hupomonē [ὑπομονή]—endurance, perseverance)
      5. Revelation 14:12: We are called to endurance
        1. Let’s not give up or grow weary in our prayers, or in our Christian walk.
    2. God’s patience toward us6
      1. 1 Timothy 1:12-16: God’s patience with Paul
      2. 2 Peter 3:9: God wants all of us to come to repentance.
      3. How long has God had to wait for you?
      4. Matthew 16:15-18:
        1. The rock on which the church is built is Peter’s confession
        2. The gates of hell are not on the offensive; they’re on the defensive
        3. God’s patient persistence will ultimately bring victory.
    3. Patience with others7
      1. Reminder of our definition: “Makrothumia is the spirit which bears insult and injury without bitterness and without complaint. It is the spirit which can suffer unpleasant people with graciousness and fools without irritation.”8
      2. 1 Thessalonians 5:14: Treat others with patience.
      3. Ephesians 4:1, 2: It is our calling to be patient toward others.
      4. How?
        1. The Holy Spirit’s working in our lives.
        2. Pray for patience—many people say not to, but we need to.
        3. When you start to feel impatient, send up a quick prayer and focus your mind on something positive, like scripture you’ve memorized or uplifting music. Don’t focus on the thing that’s getting under your skin.
        4. Psalm 37:7, 8. Some good final advice.
  4. Closing Song9


  1. Prayer: Pairs: That God would send His Spirit to teach us. 

  2. Bible quotations are from the ESV. 

  3. Colossians 3:12-14 Commentary.” Quoted from Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. 

  4. From the NABRE: New American Bible, rev. ed. Available on Bible Gateway. 

  5. “Colossians 3:12-14 Commentary.” 

  6. Prayer: Groups: Pray for the people on your list, and pray for persistence in your Christian life. 

  7. Prayer: Groups: Share examples of God’s patience and thank Him for His patience. 

  8. “Colossians 3:12-14 Commentary.” 

  9. Prayer: Individuals: Ask God to show you areas where you need more patience, and surrender those areas to Him.