But the ones that fell on the good ground are those, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
Luke 8: 15
I am not one of those naturally calm and patient individuals. In fact for years, I rationalized my impatience simply as “who I am.” Then it dawned on me that spiritual fruit is evidence of God’s work within a heart and that all Christians are to walk in the fruit of the spirit which includes patience. Patience is not only spiritual fruit but also an element of love according to I Corinthians 13.
It’s one thing to write about patience- (last week’s blog) but it is a far different thing to walk in it. Just a few days after posting the blog, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated over silly little things at school that were not going the way I envisioned, and I impatiently took matters (that were not mine to take) into my own hands. As a result, I grew irritated and edgy and increasingly anxious. In hindsight I realize I was causing anxiety in others as well. (A post on “love is not envious” was postponed because I am still learning to be patient!)
I had placed myself into a pressure cooker.
Like a pot of water on the stove, I had turned up the heat and was boiling up over the top. At the same time, I attempted to quell the agitated waters within but the pressure just continued to grow. I did sense the gentle yet clear counsel from the Holy Spirit to turn down the heat – to quit striving – and finally, after several loving exhortations from others, I surrendered. Immediately peace within was restored and I was able to walk patiently again.
My past analysis was in fact correct. Patience is clearly not a part of “who I am.” But patience is a part of the nature of God that I can reflect when I surrender to Him. When do I most need to see and hear with patience? At those times when I am tempted to do the opposite:
- When plans are not moving forward according to my ideas or time table.
- When children act in irritating ways.
- When others do not grow and change as quickly as I expect.
- When I am pushed and pulled at continually. (The life of a mother, a school administrator, a teacher in a classroom full of children)
- When I am inconvenienced.
- When my husband does not follow through with my expectations.
Once again the Lord reminded me that patience does not imply inaction; rather it describes and defines how I act. Our children need to see our walk be defined by the fruit of the spirit. If we speak of the peace and joy of knowing Jesus to our kids, but they see us acting restless and frustrated, we fail to display an authentic life changing faith to them.
- When tempted to “take matters into your own hands” remind yourself that God is sovereign and faithful. He will accomplish His purposes.
- When tempted to boil over, pray and listen to the Holy Spirit within. Settle your own heart before acting or speaking.
- Think oppositely. Satan will always oppose the attributes of Jesus. When tempted to be impatient, thank the Lord that He is patient and kind toward you.