...is patience I have not learned or exercised. Patience is that attribute which glues all emotions together when the world is pulling them apart. Christians exhibit the fruit of the Spirit when they show patience with others. And oddly? With themselves.
With each stroke my 5-year-old granddaughter adds to this painting, she takes great care. As she paints, the colors blend--forming varying shades of the original. She wants it to come out just right. She takes her time. She carefully washes out her brush in the water and dries it off as she switches from pink to purple, or blue to green. She is not in a hurry. She is focused. Thoughtful. Patient.
As Abby continued to paint her landscape and rainbow, I shared some techniques with her on how to make a tree, grass, apples. She was very attentive to what I showed her. Then she began doing exactly as I explained. Patience is teachable. Impatience is not; it is self-centered. Patience looks beyond itself, it considers the circumstances and feelings of others.
As we struggle against the trials the Lord allows in our lives, patience plays a very important role in our growth as Christians. We must be teachable. Hasty actions or words undermine patience. Our emotions are neutral things. It's what we do with those emotions which cause our actions to exhibit the fruit of patience. Impetuous thoughts should never break forth from our lips--or for that matter our fingertips if we write.
"Be angry and sin not." James tells us. Anger is a normal feeling brought on by opposition, adversity or difficulty we do not want in our lives. Our steadfast reign over our emotions will produce patience and blend nicely with the other variables of the fruit of the Spirit. "Love is patient."(I Corinthians 13:4a.
Patience is the act of being patient; it's defined as akin to suffering. It bears pains or trials calmly or without complaint. It manifests forbearance under provocation or strain. It's not hasty or impetuous. It's steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity. It's able or willing to bear things.
Do you see how united the fruit of the Spirit is? Love houses patience, joy, peace. The fruit cocktail. Patience is willing to bear pain and trials with a calm attitude. It's not given to complaint over the circumstances. It calmly waits in line at the supermarket, redlights and doesn't get torqued out of shape when cut off in traffic. Patience manifests forbearance in the midst of the difficulty. It waits to be heard when urgency seems necessary to counter another's point in a conversation. It hears another and avoids sour consequences. Patience puts aside the need to be first, win at any cost, or barge in where impatient attitudes are useless. Unproductive.
And when patience blends with all the other attributes within the fruit of the Spirit, lives are touched. Jesus is glorified. One attribute without the other weakens the "taste", the "flavor" of the complete cocktail. The completed painting.
Just like the finished product of my little Abby's artwork below, patience must have its way under the sufferings of life. How long did Noah wait for God's "bow" in the sky? As we wait upon the Lord and allow Him to teach us through His Word and Spirit, we grow in patience. When we face opposition, and count it great joy, patience multiplies. When we face ornery people and return love, the fruit of the Spirit is manifested. When we are daily devoted to God, we battle raging storms with minds bathed in Christ's peace. Then patience presents the finest picture of God to the world for Christ's glory.
God placed a bow in the sky as a promise. What a blessing to know God promises His forgiveness in the clouds of our darkest moments. Deliverance from veiled grey threats to rainbows of promises. selahV