Fruits of the Spirit – PATIENCE

“And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint” Galatians 6:9 (AMP).

There is simply no denying that I have a “type A” personality with healthy doses of “OCD tendencies” sprinkled in.  Quite candidly, I am a perfectionist and I like to be in control of my emotions and circumstances.  When situations arose where I found I had no control, I easily became discouraged and frustrated.  I burdened family and friends with incessant, nonproductive talk about my problems, habitually forgetting they had struggles of their own.  My “woe is me” kicked into high gear.

Over the years, thanks to countless failed attempts to control the uncontrollable, I came to realize that having peace is considerably more precious than having control.  Without peace, we cannot live the joy-filled lives Jesus died for us to live.  “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” John 10:10 (AMP).

For years, I lived life as a “yo yo Christian.”  I constantly went up or down depending on my circumstances.  I desperately needed stability.  I needed peace.  When I finally grew weary enough, I began to crave peace above all else.  I began to understand that while I wanted to have peace in my circumstances, God wanted me to have peace in my heart despite those circumstances.  Peace requires trusting God.  It requires patience.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit only cultivated by trial and is defined as: (1) the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like; (2) an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay; and (3) quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.  By definition, patience is not about our ability to wait. Rather, patience is about our  attitude while we wait.  Do you see the difference?

While many of us desperately desire change in our circumstances, few of us are willing to go through the waiting period and allow God to work. It is only natural to want things to happen quickly and easily when we live in a fast paced society filled with modern conveniences. We want immediate answers to our problems and we oftentimes try reasoning our way through every situation.  Not knowing what to do or when something will change is uncomfortable and quite hard on our flesh.  The reality is, however, waiting is inevitable.  In life, we will be required to wait … a lot.  What we must decide, then, is how we will choose to wait.  Will we choose to trust God and wait with patience while continuing to enjoy our lives?

Allow me to stop here and say what many will find difficult to hear and even harder to accept.  Please know, however, that I say this with love.  My goal is to prompt personal reflection and promote spiritual growth in us all.  My hope is that we all go even deeper with God.  So, here goes … not one of us is smart enough to run our own lifeThere, I said it.  If you do not believe me, consider the messes you have made while impatiently trying to fix problems on your own.  I have made some giant ones!  Think about the days and nights lost worrying and whether worrying really helped improve anything.  We will never get that precious time back.   Despite our decision to either patiently trust God while enjoying peace, or to worry, complain, and commiserate, the ultimate outcome would have been the same.  What would have been different, however, is our attitude and our freedom to enjoy life despite the “storm.”  While we live life forward, we often understand it backward.  Now that we know better, we should endeavor to do better.

The Bible tells us very plainly, “[l]ean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP).  Let me ask you … where do you place your trust?  Do you place it in your frail, imperfect abilities, or do you place it in our perfect, all-knowing God?

You may be wondering what you should do while patiently waiting on God to work in your circumstances.  The answer is this … you do what you know to do.  You pray, you give thanks to God for the work He is already doing in your life even when you do not see or feel it, and you busy yourself helping others.  Ponder this: God will not give us the ability to solve all of our own problems, but He will always equip us to help others.  I believe one of the best things we can do for ourselves while patiently waiting on God is to be a blessing elsewhere.

We are all running a race.  The start and finish of any race is easy and exciting.  During the middle of our race is where we grow weary, lose momentum, and want to give up.  To finish our race and go all the way with God takes courage and persistence.  It takes setting our minds and keeping them set.  God will not fail us.  “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power, they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired” Isaiah 40:31 (AMP).

My prayer today is that we learn to reason less and trust God more.  “But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing” James 1:4 (AMP).  Let us all run our race with steadfast endurance.  Let us run our race to win.

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© 2016 by Kelli Hammond Mills.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Fruits of the Spirit – PATIENCE

  1. I want to have a character of patience. Not that dry patience that, in the midst of the storm, is holding white-knuckled to the side of the boat, praying for the storm to subside. I want the kind of patience that steps out of the boat during the storm and stands on the water in awe of the gracious tempest of the God who controls the wind and the waves and has might beyond compare and has chose mercy instead of judgement. I need patience, but I think we can do more than endure—I think we can enjoy! Thanks so much for this post! I love it!

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    • Trinity – thank you so much for reaching out and leaving such an honest, thought provoking comment. You are so right … we can and should enjoy. The storms are great and many, but our God is greater! I am so happy this post touched you in a positive way! God bless you! Kelli

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