Friday, February 20, 2009

Longsuffering (Patience), a Fruit of the Spirit

Ahhh, if we could only just fast forward through the uncomfortable times in life. Really, how wonderful would it be if we would never have to wait for blessings like healing, strengthened finances, renewed relationships, new opportunities, etc.? What would our character be like if everything came to us in an instant? It's actually a little scary to me because when you see those children whose parents indulge their every whim, the children inflict emotional pain on all who are near. I mean, being around these type of children requires a serious degree of patience.

On the flip side though, does the Bible really say "longsuffering" is a fruit of the Spirit? Evidence of abiding in the vine is that we bear the fruit of longsuffering. Galatians 5:522 clearly states that it is a fruit of the Spirit. Longsuffering implies that there is a lengthy period of discomfort, pain, suffering, and/or waiting. So then, patience, another word for longsuffering, is a fruit of the Spirit that requires us to endure whatever the obstacle is and to wait until our change comes.

In the physical world, we know that in order for a vine or tree to produce fruit, it takes nurturing, pruning, and patience. In just the right season, if cared for properly, the vine will produce sweet grapes. Similarly, we must go through the trial (the pruning process) and wait for our season to come to maturity, just like grapes on a vine.

James 1:3-4 says, "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." The Lord longs for us to be complete in Him, and this doesn't mean that we won't be touched by problems.

We all have problems and obstacles, but I wonder what would happen if many of us, especially myself, changed our perspective? Instead of complaining about the problem, what if I just recognized the situation as a challenge and an opportunity to mature in Him? Easier said than done, huh?

I've decided to practice daily on the little things that ruffle my feathers. Maybe when my son forgets his homework at school, instead of giving him a piece if my mind, I'll give him my PEACE of mind (lol). When the baby cried every single time I open up my laptop to start working on my story, I'll chuckle. Anyway, through these daily exercises in patience, I'm hoping to build myself up until I'm strong enough to weather those huge trials and situations that do require the patience of Job.

Often, in the midst of waiting and enduring, I had thought God had forgotten about me. Now, as I'm maturing and growing in Him, I've realized that He was right there, maturing me, getting me to the place where I could truly be a vessel for Him.

While we wait, we are busy though. We're still actively seeking His face, meditating on His Word, and glorifying His name. When we remain so busy with these things, waiting patiently is peaceful. We know that He will get us over to the other side.

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