the fruit of the spirit: practicing patience
Galatians 5:22- 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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience
I don't like to wait. It's gotten to the point where I am actually willing to consider paying a few extra dollars to get my shipping order a day earlier. If my computer starts loading a webpage that takes longer than a minute, I am exasperated. Why is it taking so long?
What do you hate waiting for?
The Bible has a lot to say about being able to wait- especially when it comes to waiting on God:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. Psalms 37:7-9
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Often we mistakenly interpret God taking his time as ignoring us. We figure that because our prayers aren't answered on the time frame we see fit, they won't be answered at all. This is often not the case- but God's timing is rarely our timing. At least... it is rarely my timing! I want it now but God says, "later."
My impatience does not only affect my relationship with God but also with others. The Bible speaks on this as well:
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. Proverbs 15:18
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love... Ephesians 4:2
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:22
I am not good at being patient with other people. Nothing makes me more frustrated than waiting for other people. Waiting in traffic. Waiting in line. Waiting for someone else to complete their task at work so I can complete my portion of it. Sometimes I can't stand it- I complain. I yell. I demand a reasonable explanation as to why something is taking so long. Is there a car accident? Is the cashier confused? Did my email not send? No matter how much I throw a fit, I still end up waiting. It is better to have a good attitude from the beginning because in this life we always have to wait!
How do we develop the ability to be patient? Make yourself wait. Get the free shipping. Take the scenic route home. Practice sitting still. Allow yourself to let your mind have a break. Give yourself a time frame or a checkpoint for when you will check back on the thing you are waiting on. In the meantime, don't spend time thinking about it. Pray about it. Tell God your feelings, and then let him do his thing. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish when you allow yourself to take your time- with God and others.