Today we finish our “2 fruit a day keeps the devil away” series. And we end with patience and self-control. The Bible is filled with scriptures about patience and self-control because there are many occasions when God tells us to wait. Having patience is not just about not getting frustrated with each other, and having self-control is not just about having discipline. It is also about respecting time. The time it takes others to get to our ‘level’ (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually) requires us to have patience and the time it takes us to reach our next ‘level’ (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually) requires us to have self-control. For example, the concept of having an affair is mostly surrounded by this idea – “things in our marriage have changed” – the translation to this is: “You no longer operate on my level of giving and receiving love, therefore I will not wait till you do. I will instead go look for someone else that does even if it is just for this short period of time.” 

It is for this reason that Ephesians 4:2 reminds us to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” because God knows how different we are and how differently we operate. It’s very interesting that the Bible uses the word ‘bearing’ when talking about patience in human interaction, because it is referring to carrying or supporting one another. The point of patience and self-control as a Fruit of the Spirit is the realisation that to make relationships work, we will need to learn to wait for each other and have discipline to not act despite someone else. We are encouraged in Galatians 6:9 to “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. What is this harvest that we will be reaping? As it says in the preceding verse, sowing to the flesh brings corruption, but sowing to the Spirit brings eternal life. Therefore, by living in the Spirit and doing good, we will reap spiritual blessings for ourselves, and those around us will also be greatly encouraged. Verse 10 then says: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” 

For the purpose of this devotion and during this lockdown time, let’s change that verse just for today and read it as follows;

““Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to our family”.

As the leaders of our family we have a responsibility toward them. We do not have the luxury to give into our lack of self-control because we know that those who will suffer from this will be our direct family. So let us put on and increase in these fruit for their sake and our own. We cannot say we operate in love and yet walk in selfish ways according to the flesh. 

We know the age old saying, “patience is a virtue”. This saying, however, does not come directly from the Bible; the concept of it is talked about throughout the Bible in the Old and New Testaments. According to 1 Samuel, “lack of patience can cause you to miss blessings.” Being patient is a vital part of trusting in God as our life circumstances are not always what we’d prefer, e.g. a 21-day Lockdown. There are many well-known Bible verses that discuss the importance of patience and appreciation for the present moment. Ultimately, patience comes from pride. We are impatient when we want our own way; when someone does not conform to what we want, we become impatient or even angry. In order for patience to increase, we must let go of our own will and desires. Patience is the ability to wait for something even if it takes a long time, and waiting without frustration, like we are told in Philippians 2:14-16: “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” 

In conclusion, we have the Fruit of the Spirit represented everywhere in and around our school. Let us, like in Matthew 7:16, be recognisable by the fruit we bear and practice truth by following God’s instructions. May we make every effort to keep in step with the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, so that we would not be overtaken by evil’s schemes. Instead, would we stand firm in the time of affliction. 

Philippians 1:27 “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” 

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