But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Patience. Something I have always struggled with. Something I struggled with as recently as today. Writing this post has been a test of my patience. I've been trying to write it for over a week, and life kept getting in the way. Yesterday I had written out most of the post but forgot to save it. Wouldn't ya know, my computer decided to restart and I lost it all. So here I am restarting again. But God. He knows what is best for me and for my readers. He knows that what I'm writing now is better suited for myself and my readers than what I originally wrote. Like this nugget of truth the Lord gave me, the fruits of the spirit are all held together by patience. If you love rightly then you are patient, if you have joy in all circumstances then you are patient; same with kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. They all involve patience. Yet patience is one of the fruits of the spirit that we as humans struggle with the most. I know I definitely do. So I felt led to share some of what the Lord has laid on my heart regarding my struggles with patience and ways to grow the fruits of the spirit in our lives.
The times we find ourselves having to wait on others may be the perfect opportunities to train ourselves to wait on the Lord. ~ Joni Eareckson Tada
Waiting on others is hard. It means we have to be on someone else's timeline and no our own. This is a way patience can either be cultivated or destroyed. It all depends on how you react to it. If we become selfish and demand our own way we will become impatient and destroy what patience we did have and that leads only to disappointment. However, if we let go of expectations and wait selflessly then we will cultivate a brand new kind of patience in our lives that will lead to new adventures and promises! When we wait on others patiently we in turn learn how to wait on God patiently. We all know God's timing is better than our own, even when we don't want to believe it in our heart. So learning to wait with patience on the Lord to act is something we should all strive for.
"The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it's going to be a lot better and a lot bigger." ~ Elisabeth Elliot
Waiting on the Lord isn't always an easy feat. Sometimes He appears to be slow acting. However, as Elisabeth Elliot said " in the end it's going to be a lot better and a lot bigger" than you ever expected it to be. God's will is always better than what you had planned, even when it seems like it's worse. He may end a relationship or friendship, or He may not let you get the job you wanted. The thing is, we don't see the whole picture while He does. That ending relationship or friendship may open up the space in your life for someone new! That missed job opportunity may lead to a much better job offer or a raise in your current one! Only God knows, so trust Him!
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV
We all struggle with the fruits of the spirit from time to time, just like fruit trees have bad harvests sometimes, but there is always good fruit there. Bad trees don't produce good fruit. So the most important thing you can do is surrender your life to Christ Jesus. That is the only way you will produce good fruit. Apart from Christ we can produce no good fruit. Patience is impossible without Christ! Work on your fruit bearing by letting Christ work in you. When you all Christ to be the gardener of your soul you will begin to produce good fruits of the spirit without trying! He changes our attitudes and allows us to become better versions of ourselves. Closer to the version He created us to be. We also have to make an effort to keep out the bad fruit. We do this by practicing selflessness and putting God and others first. When we do this we create a barrier that impatience and unloving feelings can't pass. There's no room for the selfish feelings of impatience and unkindness when we are putting God and others before ourselves. So lets start putting ourselves in third place instead of second!
"We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world." ~ Helen Keller
Patience is developed through hard circumstances. There's no need to be patient during joyous times, we need it during the hard times. Helen Keller was right, if we lived in a world filled only with joy we would never learn to be brave or patient. If we never learned to be brave or patient we would struggle to love, be faithful, be kind, or have self-control. The fruits of the spirit rely on patience, and patience can come only from the Lord. Therefore, the fruits of the spirit come only from the Lord our God working within us. Ask the Lord to work in you, and bring forth patience and the other fruits of the spirit. I promise, He will answer!
Which fruit of the spirit do you struggle with the most? Let me know in the comments below!