I recently had a conversation with someone about patience, they were talking about how it was a challenge for them. They said, “God didn’t give me much patience.” In my mind, I immediately disagreed with them and thought about Galatians 5:22: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
As I was driving to the office this morning, and that conversation came into my mind, and creeping judgmentalism along with it-
“How can someone say that God didn’t give them patience? Am I allowed to say, ‘God didn’t give me self-control’, so I can do what I want?”
Just then (literally just then) as my judgmentalism roared to a crescendo, the traffic ahead of me slowed, alternating between 10-15 miles an hour. Two cars ahead of me was the problem: a vehicle driving slowly with their hazards flashing. Immediately, my mind switched gears and through gritted teeth and with anger, frustration and impatience rising… “C’mon…what in the world is going on here? This is ridiculous.”
And there it was.
I guess God obviously didn’t “gift” me patience either.
Isn’t it interesting that the very thing that I was sitting in judgment over others was the thing God was setting before me?
Jesus tells us that a tree is known by the fruit it produces. Earlier in Galatians 5, Paul writes, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear (the fruit is evident): sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.”
As Christians, the Holy Spirit lives within us, and each day, each moment we live, we have a choice- will I live in glad submission to who God is making me to be, or not? When I’m in moments that provide opportunity for my fruit to show and grow, will I?
Paul mostly closes Galatians 5 with this: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
This is how the Spirit produces fruit in us- by leading us into opportunities to reveal what we are made of, to show “what’s inside.” I’m betting the best way for this to happen is for us to be constantly placed in situations that try and challenge us, that call us to live out who God is making us to be.
Be His today.