Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

Oh, I've been waiting, somewhat impatiently, for this week's fruit. How's that for a paradox (not to mention that it's Thursday already)? In fact, this whole post may be a paradox to some of you, but stick with me.

It truly was hard to not write this one sooner and just wait for it to post. But I chose to be patient. Hopefully, I'll be able to remember where I wanted to go with it.

I'm sure you've heard this.  "Don't pray for patience. If you do, you've be given opportunities to be patient."  Well meaning people have said this for years. The idea behind it: If you pray for patience, you will get in the slowest line, hit every red light, hear from every long-winded friend when you have somewhere else to go, run into the most annoying situations... you get the idea. You will run into every imaginable test of patience.

To that, I say phooey. (Sorry for the harsh language, but some things just have to be said.

Several years ago, when I was still pretty new to this Christian/loving Jesus thing, I went on a shopping trip with a couple of friends. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I vehemently dislike to shop, especially for myself.  We were on a specific mission to find something, but we didn't know exactly what yet.  So we stopped for lunch to talk about it and I prayed before we ate.  During the prayer, I asked for patience to get through the day, among other things. At the end of the prayer, they both said, "Did you really just pray for patience? You know what that means!"  Of course, I had heard the saying before that, but didn't really think about that so I felt kind of bad about it. Thinking the shopping trip was about to be ruined, I put on my best face and we went about our day.

You know what? That was one of the best shopping excursions I had ever had.  So I say phooey to not praying  for patience.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" ~ Matthew 7:7-11 (also found in Luke 11)
Why would God, who loves me and has placed His Spirit within me, deny me something that He has already promised me? Remember Galatians 5:21-22?
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Again, I say phooey. We've already got it anyway, so ask away! A loving God, who cares for the sparrows, is not going to let you down! Will there be times when our patience is tested? Of course! But if we sincerely ask God for it, and choose to be patient in inconvenient and testing times, we will receive it!

Now, patience in waiting on God... well, that's another subject.

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