The Spirit grows patience in us

Posted Oct 26, 2021

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Daily Scripture

Ephesians 4:1-6

1 Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.

Colossians 1:9-12

9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we haven’t stopped praying for you and asking for you to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. 10 We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; 11 by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; 12 and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. He made it so you could take part in the inheritance, in light granted to God’s holy people.

Reflection Questions

Methodist scholar Maxie Dunnam wrote of Paul’s characteristic word “therefore” in Ephesians 4:1, “Paul has told that story of grace—the drama of salvation—and now can say ‘therefore.’ It is after we know that ‘by grace [we] have been saved’ (Ephesians 2:5) that we can be ‘worthy of our calling’.... Our being and doing as Christians are expressions of what God in Christ has been and done for us.”*

  • Jesus told a story (Matthew 18:21-35) that contrasted God’s patience toward us and our frequent lack of it with each other. In the story a king forgave a man who owed him a huge debt. In spite of the king’s patience, the man cruelly insisted on jailing a person who owed him a rather small debt. How can that story help you grasp how patient God is with you? How can that awareness grow your ability to be patient with others?
  • In what big or small ways have you seen impatience damage you and other people, physically, mentally or spiritually? Facing things like a child’s energy, an elderly person’s slow pace, or a red light that lasts “too long,” how can you allow the Holy Spirit to grow the fruit of patience in you?


Lord Jesus, keep shaping my life into an expression of what you have done for me. Help me increasingly to treat others in a way worthy of my calling, given to me by your eternal patience. Amen.

* Maxie Dunnam, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 31: Galatians / Ephesians / Philippians / Colossians / Philemon. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, p. 193.

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Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann

Denise serves as the Care Coordination Director for the churchwide Care Central department at Church of the Resurrection.

Patience. The one fruit that trips me up more than any of the others.

I like to think I am a patient person. And sometimes I am…until I’m not.

When it comes to dealing with kids, I can explain the same thing over and over, put up with a mess as they experiment with new projects, and laugh as I remind them of something for the nth time.

As a roommate to two cats, I say “Get off the counter, you know better,” at least eight or ten times a day without ever becoming irritated or even really dreaming they will stay off the counter.

But then I get in the car and someone does a bad job driving. And before you even go there, it’s not me. It’s them. They drive too slowly, follow too closely, or don’t use their blinker. And there is just no need for that nonsense.

Or when the TV networks cannot get their stuff together to actually start broadcasting a game when it begins. I mean really…miss the first pitch or the opening kickoff? Not acceptable. They have one job.

Suddenly, I am not a patient person anymore. And sadly, these aren’t the only times that my patience is less than stellar.

You see, my patience is situational.

Too little sleep, too hot – I’m not a hot weather fan – hungry, running late, in the midst of a bad day…all of these things, and so many more, impact my patience.

But God doesn’t tell us to have the fruit of the Spirit just when it’s in season. We are told to walk in the Spirit all the time. To do so is to show grace to other people, just as we are given grace day after day without fail.

So, why don’t I get better? Trust me, I have tried. But the tricky thing about patience is, it’s not there when you need it most. I can sit here and tell you that no matter how glacially slow I have to coast behind someone on my way home tonight, I will not let it frustrate me or make me become impatient, but we know better.

No matter what circumstances cause me to be impatient, the best thing I can do is continually pray for patience and recognize that I am not perfect. Nor is anyone else. It is an imperfect world, things take longer than they should, systems fail, people don’t always do what we would like them to do, but the one constant is God. When I am stuck in traffic, taking the cat off the counter again, waiting for the game streaming to start or any of the multitudes of other times I find my patience growing thin, I can fill my time thanking God for his unending patience with me and pray that I can share that fruit with someone else.

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