When Carolyn asked me which blogs I wanted to write for our Fruit of The Spirit series, I told her that “Patience” was the one I wanted to take on for sure. Then I immediately wished I could take it back because patient is the last word I would use to describe myself. Looking back on the last few years of my life, however, I realized just how much God has taught me about not only being patient, but choosing patience.
The thing is, we have to choose each one of the fruits of the spirit. They are available to us the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior and allow the Holy Spirit to work fully in our lives, yet we must choose to operate in them and to live in them every moment of every day. That’s where things become easier said than done.
The Lord began speaking to me about patience, or more specifically, trusting His timing almost 3 years ago. I was walking through a season of pruning things out of my life, and I was so desperate for Him to just take away everything that wasn’t from Him. I wanted everything in my life to reflect my Creator, and I wanted to be made perfect all at once. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Sanctification is a process?” I don’t hate anything more than I hate that phrase.
As a follower of Christ, my desire is to be like Him, to mirror Him in all things. For me, I hate that I can’t instantly be made like my Savior. I hate all of these Earthly things I love too much, and all of the selfish ambitions I cling to. I hate all of the “thorns in my flesh,” as Paul calls them, that stop me from living life to (what I think) is the fullest.
If anyone in the world can relate to me and if there’s anyone else who feels this way, it’s Paul. Oh, Paul. He’s my Bible crush. He just tells it like it is, and he’s so sassy in the process. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about “a thorn in my flesh,” and goes on to say that he believes he was given this struggle so that he would stay humble. Paul says he has BEGGED God 3 times to take away whatever his thorn was, but each time God says, “My power is made perfect in your weakness.”
Reader, don’t you believe that today? His power is made perfect in your weakness.
Now let’s be clear, this is not an excuse to choose sin because “His power is made perfect in my weakness.” The Scripture doesn’t say, “God’s power is made perfect when I choose to stumble,” or “God’s power is made perfect when I intentionally live in sin.” What this verse tells us is that in those moments of hating the world, despising our flesh, and desiring Christ, we can cling to God’s strength.
Hear this: God’s intention for you and His design for the world was for you to live in complete community with Him. Whether you’re struggling with believing lies, a pornography addiction, or an eating disorder, or something else, some things take time to overcome. Accepting Jesus as the Lord of our lives does not guarantee us smooth sailing. Choosing to live life with the Savior of the world means that we are all but guaranteed difficult seasons, and lots of pruning. So sometimes we have to be patient in the process. Not everything in life is automatic, although I wish it was. Sometimes in our struggles, we have to wait for God to show up in the way we need Him to.
But the beauty of learning patience lies in learning to wait. And what greater thing is there worth waiting for, than to be transformed (however slowly) into the image of the One True King.