I think one of the things people pray about the most, other than God helping them to stop looking at porn, would be praying for more patience. And if I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times people saying to that person…
Oh…do not pray for patience because if you do…
God will bring all kinds of terrible things into your life
To teach you to be patient.
Does that make sense to anyone? It imagines that God, our Loving Father, is just waiting for us to ask for more patience so that He can then clobber us with difficulties we will have to work through to gain the patience for which we are asking. I don’t think He has to do that because there are enough things in life to teach us patience already.
For example, almost anytime I am driving my car my patience is greatly tested. That person in the right-hand turn lane who waits for the light to turn green before turning…even if there is no traffic coming brings out the driving monster in me. I mean give me a break wasting 30 seconds of my precious time…they out to be assassinated. Or worse yet is the person who does not go the split second the light turns green because they are looking down at their phone. That will almost always cause my horn to go off…they just wasted seconds off my life.
Where does impatience show up in your life? Waiting in line in the grocery store? The person with 25 items in the line limited to 10 items? Or any business with a drive-through be it a bank, pharmacy, or Taco Bell. I mean give me a break how long should it take to order two bean burritos and a watermelon freeze? But I digress…
One of the fruits of the Spirit is patience and unfortunately for me, I am at times an impatient man. And yet there are times when patience is critical. Like raising children, Thanksgiving dinner, losing weight, seeing results from exercise, or loving your wife or friends. I am just glad to hear that making me more patient is something the Spirit wants to develop in me, and I do not have to manufacture it on my own.
So, when I am beginning to sense that my fuse has been lit, by whatever circumstances, and when I can remember to do it…I ask the Spirit to help me relax. I might even close my eyes and take a couple of deep breaths, letting them out slowly, and ask for Him to help me be at peace at that moment.
Now, what about kindness? I do not believe that I have ever witnessed so much lack of kindness in our country as I am seeing today. There is a torrent of unkindness that we hear about every day thanks to the news and all social media. Thank God that we all now have a way to say unkind things to anybody online and with our identity concealed. Not Good!
It seems like if you can hide behind a hashtag and clever name you can say anything to almost anybody…I mean that is why we have the 1st Amendment and the freedom of speech right?
Now I highly value freedom of speech but when people begin to exercise that freedom in stirring up hatred and violence with underlying racism, sexism, and all kinds of isms being broadcasted to the world it becomes a destructive factor in any culture.
Isn’t it then amazing when we find someone being kind to us? I had this happen a while back when I walked into a pet store. Instead of having to wander around with millions of choices screaming for my attention, there was a young lady who welcomed me and asked me what I was looking for. I showed her a picture of the type of cat food I wanted, and she immediately went away, found the large bag of food, carried it on her shoulder, and checked me out. She was so kind and helpful that I will always go to that pet store bypassing two others along the way.
Kindness is being able to take action and say words that are helpful to others. And in my case, I find that I am really nice and kind towards others who I am interacting with except I find less of that available when dealing with my wife. I think kindness comes because of growing in patience. Which is also what helps with the next fruit of goodness.
Now I do not think developing goodness will turn us all into Mr. Rogers…who demonstrated the fruits of the Spirit in his show. Kindness is not something that means we are going around pretending to be someone we are not. Kindness is not being some Casper Milk toast and letting everyone run over you.
Kindness is a quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It is saying things and taking the steps to help others. It means treating others with respect getting on to their level and offering to help them. It could be handing a sandwich to the person looking for handouts at the stoplights. Picking up your neighbor’s trash can that somehow got knocked over. Or slowing down and allowing someone else to merge into your lane just to be nice.
Lastly, we have the fruit of goodness. As we grow stronger in being good it will also help us to stop being bad. Goodness is the quality of being morally good. It kind of sounds like watered-down righteousness which at times is associated with righteous indignation. It is not that.
Kindness is simply and consistently doing the next right thing toward another person instead of using them as an object…which we have learned to do in our sexual brokenness. It is treating those who are disadvantaged with some help that they desperately need. And instead of judging and condemning them, we seek ways that we can help them.
Imagine a day when you have all the patience your need, can be kind to everyone who crosses your path, and doing good toward those around you or even when you are alone…making the right choices instead of continuing in sin.
These great fruits are wonderful in life and can begin to make us the person our dog believes us to be!!! Patient, Kind, and Good – three valuable fruits of the Spirit. So, ask the Spirit to fill you every day and seek to be walking in the Spirit allowing Him to influence you through each day of your life.
No Christian will ever regret allowing these fruit of transformation us and to develop in our lives.