Hang in There! Developing Patience (Part 1)
Do you enjoy trials? Me neither. When they last for a long time, it’s even harder to choose the right attitude day after day. But the tough times allow us to develop a characteristic we can’t build under easy circumstances: longsuffering (patience).
Tough times allow us to develop a characteristic we can’t build under easy circumstances: longsuffering (patience).
What is it exactly? Patient endurance in the face of suffering. And you’re right if you guessed that it doesn’t come naturally.
This month we’ll take a look at this important fruit of the Spirit and talk about how embracing our trial as part of God’s perfect plan, helps us to develop a longsuffering nature.
*The following is an excerpt for my Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful, and I’m praying it fills you with hope for your journey.
A Life Lesson:
If you are a home schooling parent, you know it can be challenging. Before our daughter Riley was born, my husband Steve and I made the decision to give it a try.
I was nervous and not really thrilled about the prospect of teaching. I have to admit, I had a bad attitude. In my reluctance, I viewed it more as a trial than a blessing.
There was a lot at stake. If I failed, I could imagine Riley being unable to read or write – permanently scarred for life. Okay, maybe I was being a bit dramatic.
I was tentative, so I chose a curriculum that offered everything in one kit so I would feel more confident. Teaching K-4 wasn’t too bad; but just to be sure I was doing everything right I opted to use videos for K-5. Yes, you read that right – I used videos. Am I dating myself?
I wasn’t the creative type. I depended on the daily lesson plans to lay out what Riley needed to complete each day, and I stuck to all of their recommendations.
As Riley moved from one grade to the next, I found myself emphasizing good grades more than a love for learning. I would get irritated with Riley when she didn’t understand a concept the first time it was taught.
The difficult truth was that I didn’t want Riley to fail because I felt it would be a poor reflection on me.
We made the decision to enroll Riley in a Christian school when she began fourth grade. As an only child, we knew she would benefit from the interaction with her peers. Riley adjusted quickly to the transition – I was the one who had a hard time. I found myself still trying to manage Riley’s performance.
It was so important to me that she get good grades, it became a daily routine to review how she had done on each test and quiz. When the occasional low grade showed up in the mix, my patience was nowhere to be found. I was the one who needed to learn a few things.
Thankfully God’s response to our mistakes is different.
I’ve messed up more times than I can count; yet God is longsuffering with me.
His Word accurately describes His love:
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust…But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.Psalm 103:14,17; KJV
What a beautiful picture of His longsuffering nature.
Although I can’t go back and grace my daughter’s home school days with patience, when I experience difficulty today, I can choose to exercise this fruit with the help of the Holy Spirit. And that’s my prayer for you too.
A Time to Reflect
What kind of trial are you going through? How can it develop patience in you? Share your answers in the comments below.
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for demonstrating Your longsuffering nature over and over. Help me realize the trials I go through are designed to help me develop this fruit of the Spirit. Give me strength to walk in the Spirit today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.Leave a comment on my wall if this post helped you
*Longsuffering is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. Next week we’ll continue to focus on this topic. If you’re interested in studying the fruit of the Spirit in greater detail, I’ve written a 10-week Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful, and you can pick it up here.
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