We are an impatient country. The light turns green and someone honks before your foot is off the brake. If the grocery lines have more than two people in them you hear grumbling and complaining. Groups of people together are always conversing about ways their patience is being “tried”.
I admit, I often struggle with impatience. Ahem! I DO have FOUR children!
I often hear, “Patience, don’t pray for it! Because you WILL be tested.”
"But the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, PATIENCE, Kindness……. "(Gal 5 :22)
First listed is Love. The highest commandment? Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, Soul and Mind. Then? Love others as yourself. Is it any wonder the first fruit of the spirit mentioned is Love? Forgive the cliché, but Love makes the world go round, right? Love was the motivator for God to send Jesus as a sacrifice for us. (John 3:16) Our response, Love for Him, should be a motivator in our interactions with others.
Second is Joy. Joy is the outflow of Love, isn’t it? Pleasure, delight. What could be more delightful than reveling in the Love of a Savior? And then having the privilege to share that Love with those we know. And when we are delighted, it is easy to make the stretch to peace, isn’t it? Can you reach a place of tranquility and serenity when you are coming from a difficult place that isn’t joyful? Yes, but it sure is easier to come from a place of joy.
I haven’t lost you yet, have I? Because I have not even come to the reason I started the post, Patience. Why was Patience tucked in behind Peace? There are those pesky verses in James (chapter 1, verses 2-5) that talk about the testing of our faith developing perseverance and perseverance helping us become mature and complete, how can we reconcile that with Peace leading into Patience? Shouldn’t we welcome the hardships?
Stay with me friend, you can have trials and tribulations and hardships and still be AT PEACE! You can be working out your salvation with fear and trembling and still be AT PEACE! You can be having your faith severely tested and still be AT PEACE! How is it possible? You know WHOSE you are. You go back to the basics. When a child struggles with a concept, a teacher has to strip away the concepts to get back to the point where the child DID understand. Same for us. Strip away the hindrances and get to what you know, even if it goes back to JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW. Build again on that foundation. That is PEACE! An understanding of the TRUTH!
When we understand the Truth and can recognize it in ourselves, when we have had to strip away the obstacles in our own lives, we can learn to have patience with others while they do the same. (I told you I would get there!)
Does that mean we won’t get exasperated with each other? No. Does it mean we won’t disagree? Absolutely not. Praying for Patience isn’t the way to go. How about we start at the beginning. Let’s recognize and acknowledge God’s Love for us. Let’s show His Love to those around us. Let us express that Love in Joy. Let us live in Peace by stripping away those misunderstandings, wrong assumptions or wrong thinking. Maybe then we can have some more Patience with each other and with ourselves.