Mar 4, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

“But the fruit of the Spirit is…patience.”  ~Gal. 5:22

     In our modern-day world we have a major advantage, but also a disadvantage over the ancient world: stuff. Computers, bicycles, electricity, shaving cream, Starbucks (though in most cases that is a disadvantage), roller coasters, and plastic forks… we are incredibly blessed by the multitude of things that make our tasks easier and our fun more extravagant. However, we are at a major disadvantage because of this. People used to wait until they had a whole day to go shopping, or until they had some extra money or crops to trade for some treat. Nowadays, people can do their shopping on the Internet, their desire for a treat is satisfied by a dollar ice cream cone from McDonald's, and their cars allow them to travel hundreds of miles in a few hours. Yet (and especially for us as Californians) the speed at which we do things concerns us so much that we often forget to enjoy it.
     Why do I say this? Because our modern-day world lacks patience.  As I’ve said before, the fruit of the Spirit is not just a bunch of unrelated topics, but complementary traits. It is like a woven blanket, with each trait acting as a thread, all of which are interconnected into one covering. You show patience with those whom you love by overlooking some of their faults and by forgiving annoyances or minor offenses against you, and because of your patience, peace exists between you.  Patience brings joy by waiting for the precious gifts of the Lord, both physically and spiritually. In today’s environment of super speed, we’ve lost not only most of our ability to wait, but also our desire to wait. Think about Noah and how he spent almost one hundred years building the ark because he obeyed the word of the Lord and trusted that all those years’ labor would not be in vain. Or think about the patience of the prophets who endured all the threats, curses, and tortures of a generation who did not fear the Lord. Most importantly, remember the patience of Jesus. For over 30 years, He knew that He would die on the cross. Yet He did not run or flee, but steadfastly endured.
     So my encouragement for you is this: when you begin to worry, be patient. Wait on the Lord and He will not fail you. When you begin to be frustrated with a sibling, friend, or neighbor, be patient. Remove the plank from your own eye and be humble. When you are given the opportunity to buy some tool or toy, be patient. Look first and see if you can afford it and then look again to see if there is perhaps some better use to put your money towards. There is an old phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard many times before. It’s “good things come to those who wait.” As I’m sure you will find out, some of the greatest joys you will have in this life are ones you have had to wait a long time for. And I know that the greatest joy you will ever have will be one day being raised to eternal life with our Lord and Savior. To get to that day, you may very well have to endure a lot. Yet to endure takes patience and patience takes work. So start working!

Your brother in Christ,

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