Patience … in short supply?
As I drove down the curved, tree-lined road, tears welled up in my eyes. I was running on empty in the patience department. Multiple priorities and an overfull schedule meant I was running from one thing to another with little if any margin. Flashes of my impatience, my attitude of entitlement blitzed through my mind …
- My husband needed a couple of minutes’ help but I needed to leave for an appointment. My impatience surfaced in my tone of voice.
- I waited impatiently for a clerk who was chatting with an old friend while I needed to make my purchase and get back on the road.
- I felt irritated because someone wasn’t working fast enough.
- I felt entitled to receive service before others because I was in pain.
My time was “obviously” more important than theirs.
Conviction set in. Father, I’m sorry. Patience is a fruit of your Holy Spirit but it’s just not being evidenced in me AT ALL right now. Please, change me.
And my Lord is so faithful. I immediately felt a load lifted and, while I’ll probably never be the epitome of patience, I changed. In Galatians 5:22-23a, the apostle Paul tells us “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control …” (TLB)
Yes, I have choices. Will I respond with impatience or will I ask for His grace to calm my heart and see others as more important than myself? But … and it’s a big one … I can’t produce patience on my own. I can choose my behavior, my responses to challenging situations; but I cannot make myself patient. Instead, patience is a result of knowing Jesus and allowing His Spirit to make me more like Him. That’s both freeing and challenging; I can’t do it on my own. But I trust in my God, “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I will fail – often. But He is there to forgive, correct, and continue His work in me until the end. Wonderful promise!
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 NIV
Where are you finding victory in living out the fruit of the Spirit? Challenges?