Ed, my neighbor next door, can get all steamed up, especially when it is seeding time. “Waiting on the weather so you can get started at seeding can drive a person crazy. It’s like being all dressed up with nowhere to go,” Ed explains. “When you have plenty to do and time keeps slipping away and you cannot get started, it is a problem you cannot fight except by waiting. Waiting is harder to take than open heart surgery,” Ed complains.
I tend to agree with Ed in that waiting is often a pressure for me too. Ed is usually only impatient at seeding time and harvest, while I can specialize in it most times. I like to get stuff done when I want to do it and delays tend to get my blood pressure up. Since I wear suspenders because of my over ample stomach, I say I often have my braces in a tangle. Others claim impatient people have their attitudes in a knot. Common sense would demand that many of us need to relax and learn the art of patience.
Patience would seem to come from one’s self-control. My self-control is a hit and miss affair. When it comes to cleaning up my plate, getting a haircut and changing my socks, my self-control is good. When trying to avoid any gossip, waiting in an endless line, or thinking the best about others, I may sadly lack self-control. Self-control, the Bible explains, happens when we are keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. It is hard to face the truth that we are caught between the desires of our sinful nature and the truth and Spirit of God. Sometimes we are not willing to crucify our sinful nature.
The Bible states: “The acts of our sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like.” Our sinful nature would have us become conceited, provoking and envying each other. This is so we would destroy ourselves and others.
The Spirit of God is about the forgiveness and love for ourselves and others through faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith in Christ expresses itself trough love. The life of faith may not be obvious to many others. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” are not always valued in our world. They may even be seen as weakness, not strength.
Conceit says in our minds that we do not need to be patient and forgiving toward others, because we do not need forgiveness and patience from God. Certainly, many popular television programs celebrate our sinful nature with sexual immorality, hatred, selfish ambition, drunkenness, and envy. It seems that God is missing today – replaced by ourselves. Do we focus on getting what we feel we deserve and what we want? Perhaps in our society there has never been so much indifference toward God and being out of step with what His word and will are for us.
Our patience in life does not come from our self-control. It comes from our faith in Christ. It is the fruit of the Spirit of God within us. From celebrating God’s love and forgiveness for us in Christ comes the power to fall into step with God’s Spirit of love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives.