for the foreseeable future, it’s going to replace going off-road…the weekly 4×4. it’s time for a change.
i want to go back and revisit sunday morning. mostly the sermon. maybe some other things. we’ll see how this goes.
i was thinking about yesterday’s sermon. actually, i was thinking about the past month of messages. we just finished week #5 of our summer teaching series on the fruit of the spirit. and i want to re-emphasize …or maybe clarify…a point that has created both confusion and frustration.
i had a guy come up after the service was over and take exception to what he thought he heard me say. these were roughly his words: “dude…i don’t believe that patience is a gift from god. patience is earned. if patience is a gift, god definitely forgot me. i don’t have much patience at all…especially with people. and the only patience i have is what i have earned by living through some really bad times.”
i’m going to have to go back and listen to what i said in the service he was at. i really hope i didn’t say that patience was a gift. i hope i didn’t infer it. i hope i didn’t breathe it. because i don’t believe it.
patience is not a gift from god. the holy spirit is a gift from god. the presence of god in our lives is a gift to those who know god and have come to him by faith. the counselor has come to those whose lives have been surrendered to his leading.
to me, this is the greatest mystery of my faith. there are some days i wish i had these dramatic, emotion-saturated experiences that my more charismatic friends have. well…not really. but there are times i do wish i had more concrete evidence (and nifty explanations) of how it is that god apparently lives in my life.
but my inner mystic remains skeptical.
but what i lack in subjective experience, i more than make up for in biblical resolve. what i can’t feel, i still believe by faith. and see it abundantly in my every day life. i possess the promised gift of the holy spirit.
and the fruit of that spirit…the evidence of god’s presence in my life will be patience. and love. and joy. and peace.
will i have perfect patience? no. i am not perfect. you can pour perfect wine into a cracked jar and it’s going to leak. it doesn’t make the wine bad. it just means it may drain out. or get contaminated. it needs to be re-filled regularly.
this is how i see the fruit of the spirit in my life. the more of the spirit i am filled up with, the more fruit there will be. the more i am filled with the words of christ, the more evidence of the spirit there will be in my life. the more time i spend in the presence of god, the more the reflection of his character…his fruit…will be present.
all of the fruit of the spirit are characteristics of a godly life. the fruit needs to be cultivated. it needs to be watered and fed. when i am not experiencing patience with the people in my life, it doesn’t mean that the holy spirit is somehow defective.
it means that i am not right with god.
when i am right with god…right with his word…right with his priorities…right with his commands…spiritual fruit will be evident.
when spiritual fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc…) is not evident, it is an effective barometer for where i am at with god. no mystery. non-subjective. practical.
you don’t need to pray for patience. don’t be an idiot.
bad stuff will find you soon enough. pray to see the face of jesus clearly. pray for strength and wisdom to obey. pray for protection from the evil one. pray to stay close to the one who will keep you from falling.
have a patient week!