“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Oh patience, whatever you do refrain from praying for patience!! God has this funny little way of working where He will not just give you patience but rather a lifetime of instances to be patient. I love the quote that compares us to microwaves and God to a crock pot. Our timing and outlook are very rarely the same as God’s. If patience is not your strong suit ( and it sure is not mine! ) then be prepared to learn. Whether you are in the 15 items or less line at the grocery store stuck behind a lady feeding a small army, waiting on something you are starting to think will never happen, or stuck in traffic and late for work patience will hunt you down. Just writing this blog was a test of my patience, I had written 3/4 of it when the browser decided to shut down and not save any of it. Talk about frustrating! In the battle between you and patience who is going to win? You or patience?
First off what is patience? According to the dictionary Patience is : the ability to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people : done in a careful way over a long period of time without hurrying. Funny thing about those definitions is they both mention the words “long time”. Patience involves a waiting period, but not a definite waiting period. I think that is what is so frustrating to me is the “when?” and “how long?”. I need a plan and answers like I need oxygen, it’s how I am wired. But unfortunately that wiring does not leave much room for patience and trust. So let’s call the electrician, and dive into our manual, the Bible, today. What are you waiting on today? We are all waiting for something, but are we choosing to wait correctly.
1. Choose Patience.
I think first we must realize that patience is indeed a choice. Which is why God does not give you patience but rather the choice to be patient in your surrounding circumstances. I believe that patience has to be chosen, then planted, then nurtured and grown. It will not happen over night, I think the reason God uses fruit as an analogy is because fruit do not happen over night either. He could have used the “Popcorn of the Spirit”, three minutes and we are done. But He did not, He chose fruit because fruit takes time and care. But in the end they are sweet!
“But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.” Romans 8:25
Romans 8:25 says we “must” wait patiently, if we can not see the results of our waiting then we must wait patiently. It is not a suggestion, but rather the only option. We can not always change our circumstance but we can change our response to the circumstance. Besides waiting patiently we must also wait confidently, knowing that our waiting is not in vain. This leads us to our second point…
2. Wait With A Good Attitude.
Patience with a bad attitude is not patience at all. Being forced to wait and waiting is not patience, but rather choosing a good attitude while waiting. Often times when things do not go our way we tend to complain, get irritated, and say things we do not mean. This is definitely something that I need to work on, because it is so easy for me to complain about situations that I can not change at the moment. This is no way helps my situation or plants patience, but rather stirs up negative emotions (usually anger in my case) and allows them to take control of my mind. These negative emotions can also blow your situation our of proportion into something much bigger than it actually is. Our lack of patience turns into a wrong perspective. This perspective usually removes God from the equation. The Bible talks about having a good attitude in the following verses.
“Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.” Ecclesiastes 7:9
“A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.” Proverbs 15:18
Anger never solves a problem, but very often creates one. Remaining calm is the best way to practice patience. Like me you may have to spend a lot of time praying in order to do this. But God hears your prayers, and when we surrender to Him He can help us overcome. I am not saying it is easy, because it is not but long term leaning into God and asking for His help is much easier than doing it on your own. It is all about growth, patience is a process.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4
3. Trust That Good Comes From Waiting.
Ok so we have chosen patience, we are asking God to give us a good attitude, now what? Well we wait…for however long. Because our waiting is not in vain, God has a plan for you no matter how it appears right now. He hears your prayers, and he is working on behalf. All too often people think that God’s silence is a no, or that He is ignoring them. This is not the case friends, He hears you, He loves you and He has an answer for you. It may not always be the answer you had in mind, you may not understand it, you may not even recognize it when it happens. But He will never let you down and His plan is always the best plan no doubt about it. So trust that God has a plan and that He is working it out for good, because you love Him and He loves you.
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1
“So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:4
“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36
Stay Patient My Friends,