July 13, 2017 - When I was a young boy I can remember going hunting for the first time. I couldn't wait to go squirrel hunting. The first day of squirrel season was a really special day. Everybody would go to camp in the swamp the night before so that they could get up early, before daybreak and get in the woods before the sun came up. That Friday before was a school holiday. It was a big deal. I remember sitting around the camp and listening to all the stories the hunters told.
For a young boy it was one of the grandest adventures of my life. Every one of the older men were quick to tell you their secret to hunting success. It didn't take me long to realize that the secret to hunting any kind of game came down to one word: Patience. The best hunters were the most patient hunters. The ones who stayed in the woods until it was too dark to see, when it was too cold for everyone else, too rainy, it didn't matter they were there. Over the years I have found that life itself is like hunting. Those who are successful at it are patient.
Patience is a very important character trait or fruit of the Spirit that all Christians must posses to be successful in their relationships with others and the in the building of their faith.
In Romans 15:4-6 Paul writes; "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Patience does not mean giving up, but through patience we learn to stand firm in what we have been taught in scripture so that when trials occur we can have the hope that we are covered by the protective hand of God. When we have patience with those around us it shows them that God’s unconditional love flows through us as believers. That's why it is a fruit of the Spirit.
It's an out growth of our relationship with God that is shared with others, that they too can be nourished and strengthened by it. That's why Paul goes on to say in verses 5-6 "Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Patience is what unifies and holds people together in relationships. Could you imagine a family relationship where husbands and wives did not have patience with each other or their children? It would be a household filled with strife and constant conflict.
People often point to the Book of Job when describing patience. Job stood faithful through many painful trials. The beauty of the story of Job’s patience was not that he just bore those trials, but that he stood fast under tremendous pressure from his family and friends to give up or make excuses, with the staying power that turns trials into opportunities. That's what Godly patience is about, being steadfast and strong until your adversities turn into opportunities. Only God can cultivate that kind of patience in you.
Jesus was the perfect example of patience. Let Him guide you so that you may experience what James says "But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4)." Do you want to be complete? Seek Him, Ask Him, and receive Him. He's patiently waiting.
I'm Just Sayin