Forbearance is an interesting word. I had to look up the meaning today to fully comprehend why Bible translators choose this word over the more familiar word, “patience.”
Here is what I found: Forbearance is defined as patient self-control, restraint, and tolerance. It really helps me understand the depths of what is required of me as a Christ-follower. And, I would say of the nine “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, this is my weakest area. As I reflect on this verse, it now has new meaning: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
PATIENT SELF CONTROL
Patient self-control requires a steadfast spirit, even in the midst of challenges and provocation. This quality is exemplified through various scriptures in the Bible. Proverbs 25:28 provides insight into the necessity of self-control: "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." This verse depicts the vulnerability that comes with lacking self-control and signifies that a person is unprotected against the various temptations and struggles that can attack from all sides.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please strengthen my walls that I may be strong, and not sin agains you and others with my lack of patient self control. Help me to turn things over to you more each day, allow you to fully control my life, and help me surrender to your will in all I say and do. Amen.
Restraint in the scripture often links to our ability to hold back our initial, possibly fleshly or worldly, responses in favor of responses that are aligned with God’s will and character. It's about choosing godly wisdom over our immediate impulses. James 1:19-20 (NIV) says, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." This scripture reminds us that restraint, especially in our speech and anger, is critical to producing actions and reactions that are righteous in the eyes of God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me for failing so many times to control my instinctive responses to situations. Help me to pause when agitated, and ask your Holy Spirit to take control. I sincerely want to be Holy Spirit-led, and not led by my human instincts, which are often wrong, and are based in fear. Amen.
Tolerance reflects the ability to bear with one another, even amidst our differences, shortcomings, and faults. It is a call to demonstrate love and patience even when it might be challenging. Ephesians 4:2 tells us, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." It is through this scripture that we understand the importance of tolerating one another, not in a dismissive way, but with a spirit of genuine love and humility, always seeking unity over division.
Moreover, Colossians 3:12-13 provides further clarity on tolerance: "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." This scripture underscores the importance of tolerating each other, particularly through the actions of forgiveness, just as we have been forgiven by the Lord.
Prayer: Please help me to be more tolerant when things don’t go my way. Help me to let go of what I think is best, and allow things to unfold without trying to control outcomes. Help me to be more tolerant of others, and their ways of doing things. Also, please help me to quickly forgive others for not meeting my expectations, which are often unreasonable and unrealistic. Please forgive me of this and make me into the person you want me to be.
Living a life that demonstrates forbearance in all its facets—patient self-control, restraint, and tolerance—isn’t straightforward. It demands a daily surrendering of our own will and taking up the will of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Only by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, our ultimate example of forbearance, can we hope to live out this fruit of the Spirit in our daily interactions with others. And, when we fail, like I often do, let us immediately make amends to those with whom we have lacked forbearance. May be confess this failure to God, and the person we have wrongs, seek forgiveness, and repent, making an intentional decision to have greater forbearance in the future.
Sisters and Brothers, I pray that we find strength and encouragement in these scriptures as we seek to walk in the Spirit, embodying the divine forbearance that has been so lavishly extended to us through Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Your aspiring servant,
October 13, 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent “Conversations with Christ” blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. Note: All scriptures quoted are from the NIV.
If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.