Happy Friday! Friday is always a good day to look back on our week and evaluate what we did so we can start all over again next week. I hope you're able to check off a few things on that "to-do" list. It always give me great satisfaction and happiness to know that I've accomplished something. More important than checking things off our to-do list, I hope that you've grown more initimate and closer to Christ this week. I hope that you're starting your day with Him and are following Him through the rest of it. I hope that you've seen His glory this week in your life and that God gave you an opportunity to share.
This morning I'm preparing my Sunday school lesson. I've mentioned before that we're studying "Love as a Way of Life" by Gary Chapman. Dr. Chapman characterizes a loving person by exhibiting seven characteristics: kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity, and honesty. Sounds very similar to the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians. This is certainly true that if we're filled with the Spirit, as followers of Christ, that we will live out these characteristics.
If you're like me, though, you are always in need of reminders and some good hands-on strategies that help in the process. I am not a patience person!! That was very evident to me as I just tried to pay a bill on-line and it won't let me. I also discovered this week that I am not very patient with receptionists on the other end of the phone in the doctors office. "Will you hold, please?" I've been holding...... and the list goes on and on.......
I did though learn something this week. Patience is not a passive activity. It's not listening to someone rant and rave and then doing nothing. Patience is first of all, a deliberate choice. It's a deliberate thought that we are going to do something and react in a positive way. When we choose to be patient we listen empathetically with a desire to understand what's going on inside the other person. We need to calmly enter into a dialogue to understand the other person's thoughts, feelings and behavior. Get to the root of the problem without flying off the handle.
Case in point: Yesterday, well probably today, too, Ben has a cold and he's really stopped up but his nose is running like a rabbit. I said something to him about getting snot all over his shirt and he snapped back real quick, "I didn't". Where the tissue remmants on his shirt came from, we'll never know. Using the tools I learned this week I very calmly replied, "I know you don't feel good today but you don't have to snap." I smiled and very loving asked if he wanted another tissue. What could have added to his already rotten disposition was hopefully thwarted by my understanding how he felt. He didn't want an argument, he wanted me to show some TLC. And, really, isn't that what everybody really wants?
In the book of James, he says,
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."
Yes, dear sisters, consider it joy when you are faced today with challenges and troubles because God wants you to show others that love covers a multitude of sins. And, He wants us to grow, grow to be more like Him, grow to be kinder and more patient. Again, we may be the only Bible some people ever read.
Have a great and awesome weekend.
Love in Christ,