I just finished my lesson for my ladies' Bible study this week. We are learning about the fruit of the Spirit and this week is all about patience. I have learned that I can't fully understand the patience that is the Spiritual fruit until I first understand the patience that is normally understood as endurance.
There are two Greek words that are used for patience in the Bible: hupomone and makrothumia. The first is the word for endurance or bearing up, and it relates to things or circumstances. I often find myself groping for patience in a particular situation. That is hupomone and it is often paired with the word "hope," as in "I hope I have the patience to finish this project before the end of the day!" The Biblical concept of hope is a "positive outlook toward an expected end." Can you relate to that?
On the other hand, makrothumia is a divinely appointed Spiritual fruit that primarily means to be long-suffering. Makrothumia is patience in respect to persons. While hupomone is inspired by hope, makrothumia is inspired by mercy. The kind of mercy that always accompanies makrothumia is a Greek word that is also used to describe God. There is a critical correlation here. And that is that this kind of patience is released only through the filling of the Holy Spirit in one's life.
Having this fresh understanding from my Bible study really helps me to identify the times when I have tried to deal with situations, circumstances and people in my own strength. I simply don't have the resources, but God does. What I do have is access to His vast storehouse from which to find all that I need to face life. Do you?
(Substance of this post is taken from "Living Beyond Yourself", Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit, by Beth Moore.)