Thursday, May 20, 2010

2010 – May 20 – The Virtue of Patience

Blogger’s Note: For those who expect my devotional journal entry to be posted relatively early in the morning, I am tardy today, having awakened with some sort of malaise and physical malady – undetermined at this time – general achiness, feeling almost febrile with no fever, a lot of sinus drainage and coughing up mucous from lungs. UGH!!! So, please forgive my late entry; and understand that my mind is not quite as focused on being with God today as it might be generally. But nonetheless I feel grateful to be here with my God; and I know He has something for me today as He does everyday. So, I will do my best to seek His mind and convey it here as best I can.

Study from God’s WordMany Proverbs listed in The Daily Bible in Chronological Order from Proverbs 5, 6, 7, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, and 29, ordered by topics by the Editor, including Self control, Rashness, Temper/Patience, Drunkenness/Gluttony, Adultery, and Prostitution …Passage for Reflection: Proverbs 14: 29 … NIV A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.

My Journal for Today: Have you ever, as an adult, had a temper tantrum or some explosion of temperament where you said or did something really embarrassing or stupid? If you answered “No” to that, you are a rare individual; and I’d like to tap into your sense of self control.

Personally, I explode with my temper every now and then; but it’s interesting to reflect on this because I’m not one who lets it be known to the public. No, I have my temper tantrums only in the presence of my wife, the one whom I declare to love the most on this earth. I’ve even put my fist through a wall once. I’ve broken things in her presence; and always my anger is directed towards my own stupidity or some circumstance which is out of my control; and I’ve never hit or directed my anger at anyone else. For example, I’ll bang on the steering wheel of the car when traffic patterns anger me in my wife’s presence. Interestingly, I never do that when I’m alone or with others in the car – only when Elly is in the car. And another interesting pattern about my degree of emotional self control. I never – and I mean NEVER – get angry when circumstances involve other people. I seem to have great patience with other people but can – and often do - fly off the handle very easily – but once again, in my wife’s presence only. And looking back on these situations, the circumstances are always so trivial.

So, what’s that all about? Maybe you have a pattern of emotional explosiveness that is like mine … or maybe one that is very different. My wife finds it very easy to get mad at other people; but almost never gets angry and loses control in the face of tough external circumstances. Maybe you’re more like Elly than like me. Perhaps you have your own pattern of emotional volcanic eruptions. But then again, maybe you’re the rare one who is very self-controlled and extremely patient in all circumstances.

I do know, though, that I’m more self controlled now as a Christian than I was as a non-Christian years ago; and that degree of emotional self control is also likely tempered by the fact that I’m older, and hopefully wise,r than I was years ago. Certainly we know that our kids and grandkids cannot be expected to have the same degree of patience in handling the world as do their parents or grandparents. So, we would hope that we all grow into more patience. But we can know, as Christians, that God has given all believers His Spirit-imparted fruit of patience (see Gal. 5: 22-23). And that fruit will only mature and become sweeter in the life of a Christian who is in surrender mode to God’s Spirit, letting God impart his enabling grace to help us meet the circumstances of life. That is what we read and get from passages like 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Cor. 12: 9.

And so, taking all of this into account, I can expect for God to give me the empowering grace of patience I need to handle tough circumstances in life, IF – and that depends on my attitude – I humble myself, seek and receive God’s grace to cover my weakness of impatience. I believe the fruit of patience is growing and maturing in my life. I just need to have the patience to let God shape that fruit into me to the point that He is glorified by that fruit becoming more evident in my demeanor. Yes, that’s a paradox. I become patient by choosing to be patient; and I become more impatient to the degree that I’m impatient. It’s like answering the question: How does one become spontaneous voluntarily? And the answer is … one becomes spontaneous by being more and more intentional.

So, how do we become more patient? ANSWER: We become more patient by choosing to be patient. And so, I now pray for patience … knowing that God loves for me to be patient; and also knowing that He may put me through trials of circumstantial fire to purge the impatience from my soul. BUT … wanting to be more patient, that will be my prayer today.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be more patient; but be merciful and ever patient with Your impatient child in the process of maturing me in this fruitfulness. Amen

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