We are starting a new month which means we are also starting a new fruit of the Spirit. I hope you are journeying with me as we study the fruits of the Spirit and apply them to our lives.
Now I am going to tell you first I am a little concerned about this month. In the New Living Translation it reads this way, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience…”
In the New International Version we read in Galatians 5:22-23 this, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance,…”
I have learned in my ripe old age you do not pray for patience. So let’s think about this. We started with love and we put love into action and practiced loving others. February rolled around and we practiced being joyful. Peace came into our lives next and we practiced being peaceful sometimes in dark and difficult circumstances. In order to be patient we must practice.
My dictionary described being patient as: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious: be patient, your time will come. Well, personally, I don’t want to practice patience if it’s going to bring me problems, suffering or any other unforeseen problems. There should be another way to practice patience right?
So my thought was let’s not talk about patience. Let’s talk about forbearance. The main problem with this is I wasn’t sure what forbearance exactly meant. So, I went back to the dictionary. According to my dictionary forbearance means: tolerance, patience, resignation, endurance and fortitude. Patience was right there. Is there no way around this?
I think there just might be. You see the first word is tolerance. So what if instead of praying for patience we pray that God teaches us about tolerance? If we can begin to get the tolerance right then I am thinking patience will come soon after.
So let’s look at this a minute. So, we are standing in the grocery line. We have two or three items. The lady in front of us has a basketful of groceries plus two or three small children running circles around her. She also has a handful of coupons that the cashier needs to look at and ring up and take off her final total. As the cashier starts checking this young mother out she comes across an item with no price tag. So, what does she do? She gets on her phone and calls for a manager to get a price check. The manager is not sure of the price check so she has to send someone to get another item of the exact same kind with a price tag on it. All of this is taking an immensely long time. What are you doing?
Well, if you are like me you are not being very tolerant, you are being impatient and your disposition is not what it should be. Being tolerant to others needs and situations are the same as being patient with one another. So I am thinking this month we begin to put patience into practice not by asking God to give us patience, but we put it into practice by learning to be tolerant or patient with others.
Right now in this day and age there are so many issues that are coming up for discussion. Unfortunately, we aren’t very tolerant or patient with others views or opinions. What if this month we began to work on being more tolerant and patient and start listening and having a dialogue with others about some of these issues?
I am beginning to realize we can put patience into practice in so many ways without actually asking God to give us patience.
This month I challenge you to think about an area where you have trouble with tolerance or patience. It could be while you are driving on the roads. It could be with standing in line behind the woman with all the kids, coupons and groceries. It could be with your children as they struggle getting their homework done on time or maybe at the mechanic getting your car worked on.
We all have areas that gives us fits. We all have times when we have to admit we aren’t very patient. I will be the first to admit when I get overly tired and I am exhausted I have very little patience with anyone or anything. I have to become aware of those times that I have stretched myself too thin.
I am thinking we can do this. I am thinking there are ways we can learn to be patient without having to experience difficult times or situations.
I was really dreading this month and putting patience into practice, but now with the new insight God has given me I am ready to take on patience and practice in ways I never thought about. How about you?
Go get your journal and begin to practice patience today right along with me.
Here is a verse we can use this month as we practice patience. It comes from Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble, gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Dear God: Thank you for teaching me and showing me ways I can practice being patient. Remind me to be tolerant and patient when standing in line, or driving down the road or waiting on others. Help me when I have stretched myself to the limit and I am impatient with myself and others. Show me other times when I need to be a little bit more tolerant or patient toward others. Thank you for all you do, but most of all for your grace. Amen