It sure would be nice to find a drive through where you could order a super-sized portion patience. What about a vending machine that could offer an afternoon get-me-through-the-day-booster of humility? Could Amazon Prime send me a little of that… I can see I’m running low. Bonus on the free two-day shipping for that one, am I right?!
Of course I’m not.
“There are no shortcuts to grow your relationship with Christ.”
I might have to take a refresher course on last week’s post it seems!
As the saying goes: “Don’t pray for patience!” they say. “You won’t like what God will put you through to learn it.”
We know there are no shortcuts to growing our relationship with Christ. There are no shortcuts in becoming a new creation, allowing God to transform us from the inside out. No… patience doesn’t come in an easy to swallow, fast-dissolve pill…
Gosh… that’s rough, isn’t it?
Before you amen that one, you might want to clarify which part I think is rough. ‘Cause it isn’t the part where I said patience wasn’t easy. Nope. I meant the part where we joke that we shouldn’t pray for patience since we won’t like what is going to come next. That is what I think is rough.
Why do we view God in that way, as some cruel school teacher just waiting to unleash the worst lesson in patience we could imagine coupled with hours of headache inducing homework and a three-hour test of essay questions to finish it out?
No thanks, I’ll skip Patience 101 please. There has to be some other way to fill my core-requirements and still get my degree.
What if we’ve wrongly felt this of God because patience isn’t the problem? I think we struggle with patience because, actually, we struggle with the prerequisites.
Perhaps what we think is a struggle with learning patience may actually be something masquerading undetected in its place.
Studying the verses, I was convicted. Might I instead be dealing with a deficiency of compassion or kindness, gentleness or humility? What if the deeper struggle is with knowing what it means to be loved by God so that I can truly love others?
Well then, it wouldn’t be patience that we need to avoid asking God to grow in us. Patience is the easy scapegoat. When we recognize the real root of our struggle, we are then able to intentionally pray and bring light to our daily battles, allowing God to sanctify these areas of our hearts..
Compassion International defines it this way, “Compassion alludes to kindness and sympathy, but there is something deeper, something even more profoundly powerful, in its meaning.
The origin of the word helps us grasp the true breadth and significance of compassion. In Latin, ‘compati’ means “suffer with.” Compassion means someone else’s heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Another’s suffering becomes your suffering. True compassion changes the way we live.”
Of this spiritual gift, desiringgod.org says, “We imitate God’s kindness, therefore, by loving our enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35). Our kindness reflects the heart of our Father. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).”
Focus on the Family says of gentleness, “Gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others’ weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person still speaks truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so guards his tone so the truth can be well received.”
And to begin to understand humility, take a moment to read what C.S. Lewis had to say on the matter:
“To even get near [humility], even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert.
Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.
Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.
If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
—Mere Christianity, (section on “The Great Sin)
To be patient, it seems, requires submission and submission necessitates humility and humility stems from choosing to live for so much more than yourself.