A Couple Thoughts on Patience

I am discovering more and more people who struggle with this thing called patience. While I’m not really  the right one to talk about patience (‘cause I got this one down… NOT!), hearing that others struggle with  this as well has made me stop and think about what “patience” really means.

Two references of “patience” come quickly to mind: 1 Cor. 13:4, and Gal. 5:22. Two very popular verses.  However, I want to examine their context just a little bit more thoroughly.

Gal. 5:22 is the beginning of the list of the fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,  patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self – control. Against such things there is no  law. Those who belong in Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live  by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (vs. 22-25)

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit… walk with the Spirit…. remain in the Spirit…  bear fruit in the Spirit…

 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from  me you can do nothing. (Jn. 15:5)

There it is, cut – and – dried. Those who remain in the Spirit, who keep in step with the Spirit, will bear much  fruit. And the fruit of the Spirit includes patience.

1 Cor. 13:4 ties directly back to Gal. 5:22 in a sense. Love is patient, love is kind… Love is a fruit of the  Spirit. As is patience.

But how does this truly apply to us? Yes, we’re Christians, but we still struggle with patience!

First of all, there is a difference between knowing Christ in your head and knowing Him in your heart. If you  simply know Him in your head, you will still be guided by your heart, which does not naturally live according  to the Spirit; “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” You  may know in your head what is right, but your heart will still be governed by its passions and desires.

However, if you know Christ in your heart, you will have Him as Lord over your life, governing the center of  what drives you – your heart. Having a heart ruled by the Lord drives you to seek after Him, leading to a life  in the Spirit, and bearing much fruit…

Ultimately, to walk with the Spirit, you need to seek after Him with all your heart, not your head. Real  passion, real motivation, real desire, doesn’t come from your head – it comes from your heart.

And walking with the Spirit takes time. It requires you to put forth some effort. You have to invest yourself  into walking with the Spirit. But isn’t it worth it? I mean, apart from Him, we can do absolutely nothing.

I’m not veering off – topic. I’m describing how we can have this patience we so desperately need in life.  Walk with the Spirit, and you will have patience, along with so much more.

Another thing I’ve noted about patience is that it requires trust. For example, they say to wait on God’s  timing. If I don’t trust that God will open doors for me, or that He has a plan for my life far better than my  mind can comprehend, etc., how am I supposed to wait patiently on His timing? If I don’t trust that He will  do what He has promised to do, how am I supposed to be patiently waiting for Him to fulfill it? If I have  patience, I am trusting that He will do whatever He has said He will do, and I can wait with that peace of  mind, because I trust Him. If I wait with impatience on Him, I do not have trust in Him that He can or will do  what He has promised.

Patience is rarely easy. But sometimes, patience is a test of our faith. How much do we really trust Him?  Sometimes, in the technical sense of the phrase, He really does “try our patience”. How you exhibit  patience will be evidence of your walk in the Spirit.

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Random, Silly Post – Liebster Award

Dearest Cassie,

While I was just as nominated by Rachel as you were, here ya go. Just for you, sister! 🙂

Cassie nominated me for the Liebster Award, y’all. Here are the rules:

Link back to the blogger who nominated you. (Cassie – girls, she’s got an AWESOME blog, ya gotta check it out.) Answer their questions. Nominate other bloggers, and ask them 11 questions.

Here are Cassie’s questions (and my answers):

1.) Why do you blog?

I blog in the hopes that my lessons, thoughts/opinions on ideas, and observations will encourage someone in some way to grow closer to the Lord.

2.) Who are the most supportive people in your life?

Number one, my mom. I don’t want to think about the shape I’d be in without her. She’s absolutely awesome. Moving outside of my family, Taylor B., and does the Revive community count?

3.) How many siblings do you have?

Two brothers. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

4.) What is your favorite board/card game?

Hmm, for cards, I like a round of Spoons every now and then. For board game, Risk ranks high up there.

5.) If you could have dinner with one person, past or present, who would it be?

Jesus. Man, can y’all imagine what that would be like?! You get to see Him face-to-face, ask Him all the questions you’ve ever had, get to hear His teaching and actually be right there with Him…

6.) What are three top things you’d look for in a spouse (BESIDES being a strong Christian)?

Bummer, you took my top one. Someone who loves me for who I am, not for how I can benefit them or what I’m good at. Someone who is willing to listen to advice and instruction, who is quick to listen and slow to speak. Someone who is likeminded in major beliefs.

7.) What do you want to be when you grow up?

A missionary.

8.) What is a good book you read recently?

Mere Christianity. ‘Nuff said.

9.) What is your (very brief) opinion on crushes?

Keepin’ it brief, there’s nothing wrong with a crush. It’s how you handle the crush that frequently turns wrong.

10.) Does your family have a TV?

Yep. However, much to the dismay/shock of many people I’ve met, we do not have satellite. So, to watch anything, we stream from Netflix or watch movies.

To nominate people… my acquaintance with bloggers is rather slack, unfortunately. So, it’s open to whoever wants to do it. If you want to, consider yourself nominated. (But someone please do it, don’t make me go to all this work for naught and look like a fool.)

Here are my questions:

1.) What is your testimony?

2.) What is one circumstance God has used to draw you closer to Him?

3.) What are two ways God has blessed you in the past week?

4.) What are some books that have helped you grow spiritually?

5.) What are your standards for the books you read, movies you watch, etc.?

6.) What are some scriptures that have gotten you through hard times?

7.) What advice would you give to someone who is looking up to you?

8.) What are your standards for close friendships?

9.) What is some helpful advice someone’s given you?

10.) What is something the Lord has been teaching you lately?

11.) Do you like Oreos dipped in milk? (A lighter question, since the others were more serious and this is a silly post.)

Somebody, enjoy.

Reflection – Pt. 2

I was really pleasantly surprised with your responses to my last post, thanks for indulging me! So what I’ve been thinking about is how much I actually live those things out. I talk about loving others, but how much do I actually do that myself? How often do I really practice self-control? How do I exhibit gentleness? And I hardly know the meaning of the word “patience”!

How frequently am I a hearer of the Word, but not a doer? How often do I fail to “practice what I preach”? My intention and hope of having you define each word was to try to share what’s been challenging me with you all. *Note: I didn’t say “y’all”. I am making a conscious effort to try not to ward you off with my Texan-isms. Back to seriousness.* I know thinking about what each definition implied, and how I showed and practiced those things in my life, really made me stop and evaluate how I am walking with Christ. I’ve got a long way to go! I hope that had some kind of effect on you all as well!

Reflection – Pt. 1

This is the first part of something I’ve been thinking about today, and hopefully it will challenge y’all as well. If you would oblige me as much, how would you define the following:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Peace

I happened to stumble across this verse yesterday, and I had to share it here. Jn. 14:27: “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Read it again. “My peace I give you…” Is that not comforting in and of itself? He does not give as the world gives; His peace is different than any peace the world knows. He gives us His peace, a peace that passes all understanding. So don’t let your hearts be troubled – He gives you His peace.

My Thoughts on Overseas Missions

I have a strong desire to go out on the mission field one day. I have since I was little. I’ve heard the  missionary stories for years – Jim Elliott, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Eric Liddell, all those heroes of  the faith. They were all fulfiling the Great Commission. And that’s my ambition, my goal, my dream. I want  to make an impact on the world for Christ.

Jesus has commanded us all to further His kingdom in Mt. 28:19 – 20 and Mk. 16:15. I once struggled with  the definite meaning of these verses. Is everyone, then, supposed to “go into all the world and make  disciples of all nations”? After all, Jesus wasn’t singling anyone out, it could very well have been only to His  disciples. Yet I knew every believer was called to be a witness to Christ, and to me the only logical way  was mission work. I was seriously struggling with what these verses implied. I even got into an argument  with a friend about it, much to my regret later. However, I have reached my final conclusion, and that is  this. No, not everyone is to go to another country to be a missionary. Not everyone is required to leave their  homes, their families, their friends, to go to another country.

At first, I had viewed the idea of staying at home, in your city, away from a foreign country, with scorn. I  thought it was just an excuse to “keep from fulfilling the Great Commission”. I thought it was simply the  excuse of “God has not called me to do mission work”. But it’s true. Not everyone is called to go to some  far off country to do mission work.

However, I don’t mean this as an excuse to glide over those verses (and the others like it) in the Bible, and  forget this idea of mission work. You are still called to do “mission work”. Though it may not be another  country, you are called to be a witness and testimony to Christ, and further His kingdom. You are a follower  of Christ; you are to do His will. You are to tell others of His love and gift of salvation.

If you are called to another country, then by all means, go! God has used many people overseas. But He  uses people here, too. And that’s what took me so long to realize. You don’t absolutely have to go to  another country (provided God has not directed you to go). There are thousands right here where you live  that are still dying without hope, without the Gospel. And you have that opportunity waiting for you. You  have that chance to make a change, to lead a soul to Christ. You have that chance on a daily basis.

I also know that people view overseas mission work as “doing a hard thing” (to all you Rebelutionaries out  there). I’ve fallen in that category. That’s something I struggle with even still. In my mind, I’d much rather be  helping orphans over in Africa than stuck at the computer doing math! But we have idolized overseas  missions. We have viewed them with too much admiration. Yes, going to help orphans in Africa is a noble  deed, but it’s just as noble as taking food to the homeless in the dark depths of Houston (which can be a  scary place, just for the record). The geographical location of outreach is irrelevant when looked at  objectively, from an eternal perspective. You’re still reaching out to others regardless of where you are.  Yet, overseas missionaries are still idolized. Your work overseas may have more challenges, but the  African soul you lead to Christ holds the same value as the Houston soul I lead to Christ. The “nobility” of  each of our actions, our stories, our character, is of equal value from an eternal perspective. Overseas  missions are wonderful, courageous, and effective, please don’t get me wrong. But please, don’t over – glamorize mission work in other countries. It takes  alot of courage to approach the stranger on the street,  and it’s still wonderful and effective.

Please don’t think that I’m running down overseas mission work or the missionaries who work in foreign  countries. On the contrary, I want to go! I want to go to Africa one day, and am hoping and praying against  all odds to go on a mission trip to Malawi this fall. I sincerely desire to be a missionary to another country.  There is a place in the world for overseas missionaries and a dire need in many countries to hear the  Gospel. There are millions of people across the world who die without ever having joy, peace, freedom,  without ever having hope, or hearing the Gospel. The point I was trying to make is that we are all called to  be missionaries, even if it is not in the sense of how missionareis are thought of today.

Be the missionary in your country. Be the missionary in your city, your street. Missionaries aren’t defined  as “those who go to another country to serve Christ”. Be a witness to Christ right here, right now. Reach  out and show God’s love to others, and share the story of your faith in Jesus. Tell others – strangers,  friends, family – of this undeserved gift of salvation. You don’t have to wait until you’re “more experienced”  or “older”. People around you need you right now to share the reason for the hope that you have.  Considering Christ’s work on Calvary, don’t we kind of owe this to Him?

I originally wrote this to share what I call my own “personal commission”. Acts 26:17b – 18: I am sending  you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God,  so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

This is what we are called to do. This is what I want to do.

Mt. 9:37 – 38: Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord  of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest.” 

In closing, I want to say again that I really am not trying to run down overseas missions. Honestly, I’m not;  I want to go myself. I’m just trying to shed light on the other end of the spectrum that people typically  forget. Yes, we can glamorize the work in foreign countries, but we can’t neglect our own country here.