Learning Godly Restraint

WE ALL WANT TO EXHIBIT the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), but oftentimes that is easier said than done. Let’s look at one aspect of this fruit that’s a struggle for many of us: patience.

The Greek word translated as “patience” is makrothumia. Also rendered as “forbearance” or “longsuffering,” it is a term packed with meaning. According to theologian F. F. Bruce, the word “embraces steadfastness and staying-power. If in English we had an adjective ‘long-tempered’ as a counterpart to ‘short-tempered,’ then makrothumia could be called the quality of being ‘long-tempered’ … which is a quality of God.”

Think about all the times God should have lost His patience with you. But He never has and never will. We can’t attain such a standard in this life, but that’s not to say we can’t make progress with God’s help. All we need do is ask (John 14:13-15). We may face challenges in the process, but our heavenly Father will see that in time everything is perfectly completed—including us (Phil. 1:6).


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