But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23
Patience is defined as the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. It is also an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.
Throughout our lives we are going to be faced with times that can cause us to be impatient. Actions of others that tend to arouse anger or wrath and cause us to lose our temper, being annoyed by another person’s shortcomings (this is typically a pride thing on our behalf and a whole different post), or restlessness that causes delay…WAITING.
Waiting is the hardest for me, because it is often times out of my control. Whether it’s waiting in traffic, waiting in a line at the grocery store when there are only 2 workers and 8 registers, waiting for an upcoming vacation, waiting on a husband, waiting on a career change, waiting on a family…waiting causes restlessness and impatience within my soul.
Today, as I write this post, marks the 7th anniversary of when I saw my finance Colby the last time before he went to be with the Lord. (I am writing on May 12th, he met the Savior face to face on May 13th). It’s crazy how time flies by. I remember on the 12th day of May in 2006, Colby, my mom, and I were visiting venues and discussing all things weddings. Colby and I were trying to pick a wedding date, a place to live, a place to work, a minister to marry us, decisions that were in that moment of extreme importance. Even then I can look back and remember being impatient. I remember thinking…”God I just want to know where we will end up living, what job I will end up having, and what church we will attend.” Impatience and restlessness were rooted in me even then, in what was one of the happiest times of my life. I would have never dreamed or wished for the events that took place on May 13th, 2006 to have happened. The call came, I went to the hospital and received the horrific news that Colby had passed away and I walked out of the hospital that day a changed person.
Waiting on the Lord and having patience for HIS best and HIS timing is something I am still learning to this day.
As I reflect back on the past 7 years I am reminded that no matter what season of life we are in patience during times of delay is at times directly related to our trust and faith in the Lord. I have since realized that patience or the lack thereof in my life is directly related to how I view the Lord. Do I see Him as the loving Father that He is, pouring out one blessing after another on me, making all things work for my good and loving me so much that He sent His only son to die for me? Do I trust in His perfect plan for me, a plan that He laid out for my life before I was even born? Do I believe that He truly wants and knows what is best for me? And because of that His delays are for my good—to prosper me not to harm me. For if this is my heart’s belief then trusting him with the timing of my desires, trusting Him with my life, and having patience on Him to provide will be easier (I didn’t say easy…just easier). In the book The Fruitful Life, author Jerry Bridges says, “The cure for impatience with the fulfillment of God’s timetable is to believe His promises, obey His will, and leave the results to Him.” At times this is hard for our sinful, controlling nature to do—but I truly believe in my own life, that as long as my focus stays on the character of who God is and how much He loves me then trusting in his timing and throughout His delays will come easier. By keeping my focus and my heart on who Christ is and His sovereignty the fruit of patience in ALL situations…whether it’s waiting for a desire to be met, being patient with a co-worker who doesn’t always treat me right, or being patient on the highway when traffic is at a standstill, will spring forth.
Throughout this OSP Series on the Fruits of the Spirit I have to remind myself of one important truth—in order to produce the Fruits we have to be connected and stay connected to the Vine.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:15
Each OSP writer has done a wonderful job taking a closer look at the first three fruits of the spirit. But at times I feel overwhelmed and defeated. There have been many times I have not loved well, been joyful in all circumstances and felt at peace when life gets tough. In those moments I have to take a soul inventory and ask myself, “Holli in whom are you abiding?” For if the answer is anyone or anything but Jesus then the fruit that I will be producing will not be the fruit that is mentioned in Galatians (apart from Christ I can do nothing). And as a Christian the Spiritual Fruit is what I desire to produce. So if you too have felt discouraged or when you feel discouraged regarding these areas of your life—ask yourself, “In whom or what am I abiding? Also, the realization that no matter what season of life I am in or not in—restlessness and impatience will enter if I don’t trust in the perfect love, character and will of the Father in my life! My prayer is that all of us remember daily just how much the Father loves us and how much He desires to grow us into fruit bearing children of His. What fruit are you producing today? Is it of the Spirit or of the flesh?