THE NINE-FLAVORED FRUIT DEVOTIONAL SERIES
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 (NASB)
When God has free reign in our lives as children of His, it is then that His Spirit will produce characteristics in our lives that are supernatural in origin. If we have begun our relationship with God on the basis of faith in His Son, Jesus, why would we think that resorting to human effort would result in Christ-likeness?! What Paul told the Believers in Galatia is applicable to us today. If we first walk in the sphere and the power of the Spirit, we will not succumb to those things that call us to walk away from Christ. It is then that He Himself produces in us the Fruit of the Spirit...the very characteristics of God! The nine ‘flavors,’ or characteristics of this fruit include the ‘flavor’ Patience.
“Hurry up and wait!” “Watch pot, never boil.” “Slow and steady wins the race.” “Lord, I want patience, and I want it NOW!” Do you have a favorite saying about “Patience” that you love to hate?! Has the microwave oven become too slow in heating your coffee? Does it take too long to get connected to the Internet? Does that red light seem to love making you wait longer than anyone else?! To measure our understanding of, commitment to and whether Spirit-produced Patience is present in our lives, let’s look at it in “3-D”!
1st “D” - DELAY
One burglar that would love to rob us of the ability to display Patience is “Delay.” Whether it is picking the wrong checkout lane at the grocery store, or at a red light, even when we change lanes to be more efficient, our timing and schedule is compromised. It is right after you change lanes the man pulls out his checkbook, which you haven’t seen in forever. Or in traffic, the driver who didn’t see the light turned green because she is on her phone texting. It is easy in either case to almost lose it! When this translates into more important life issues, then the grace we have received so freely from God becomes scarce. We can get a glimpse of how self-centered we really are. Showing patience to others, especially when they don’t deserve it, would display a godliness that is all too rare in these hypersonic times!
2nd “D” - DISAPPOINTMENT
Patience is often AWOL when life doesn’t turn out the way we expect. God’s ‘Waiting Room’ is not a very fun place to be, especially for an extended period of time. But remember, your disappointment is second to God’s appointment with you; He has never been late for an appointment. He is always on time!
3rd “D” - DOUBT
When waiting, Doubt can make patience evaporate. Doubt really is the notion that we know better than God. The strength of waiting patiently, either for practical or spiritual needs, comes from seeing the faithfulness of God displayed, over and over. It is that, not only is He able, but He is eager to show up on our behalf. Sometimes we are myopic, or short sighted, and do not see that God is much more interested in changing us to become more like His Son than getting us from point A to B. The ability to wait with godly patience comes from believing that accomplishing my goals is not as important as my transformation into the image of Christ! What are you waiting for? Do you trust the Lord to accomplish His purposes in His time? Remember, it is worth the wait!
“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians 13:4a
“Father, help me to be more eager for you to change me, than for you to change my circumstances. You have been so patient with me when I have chosen to wander, help me to show your patience to others, when my arrogance, disappointment and doubt would rob me of that blessing. Thank you for making me wait, but thank you for never being late! In the name of the One who is coming soon! Amen”
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