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Patience Makes Perfect

Since the beginning of time I have had the hardest time memorizing the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. The love, joy, peace just flow off my tongue but I always get tongue tied at the fourth one. I know why. It’s the one I like the least—patience. I guess that means it’s the one I need most. Waiting for an outcome does not come naturally to me. I want action. I am a task oriented person. I want to put in my prayer and take out my answer.

God doesn’t work that way. God is a God of patience. I thank God He is,otherwise how would I be able to have any kind of relationship with Him? Thatis never the point when I am getting frustrated with being patient. I want Godto be patient with me. However my being patient with Him or others is a differentmatter altogether.

Richard Rolle in The Mending Life, describes patience as a willingacceptance of things that are bitter. Later he adds, If you are at peace, thereis no way you can know whether you are patient. This helps me understandwhy I get so stuck on this fruit of the Spirit. With love, joy and peace I immediatelyfeel good. To experience the fruit of patience I need to be facing somethinghard and difficult.

I discovered that if I am patient even patience leads to peace. It’s notquite as immediate as love, joy and peace, but it does have huge payoffs. Peterexplains, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward tothis, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brotherPaul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him” (2 Peter 3:14-15).Our Lord’s patience is how we got Jesus born from a basically stubbornJewish race, who were the cream of the crop as far as humans go. Our Lord’spatience brought us our salvation. Salvation is the one thing that we need mostfrom our experience on this earth. It is the most important experience that anyof us can have.

Yes, a prerequisite to the fruit of patience is suffering. Without sufferingyou cannot know the fruit of patience. Yet, God’s Word explains that patiencein suffering leads to being found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.That is pretty amazing payoffs if you ask me.

Well, I have experienced some bitterness recently. I didn’t like it. Ratherthan reacting, I responded by obeying God’s instructions to be patient.It wasn’t easy, but as I trusted the fruit of patience in my life I foundmyself having peace, hope, and salvation too. It didn’t come as immediatelyas the fruit of the Spirit brought by love, joy and peace, but it did come.

Are you suffering something bitter right now? Yield to the Holy Spirit’soffer of the fruit of patience. The transition from bitter to patient doesn’tcome easy, but with prayer and patience, you’ll discover what I did. Patiencemakes perfect.

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