The patience journey
When do you get impatient? I remember years ago someone saying that you know when you are in a hurry when you put a frozen meal in the microwave, turn it on, and then get impatient because it takes 4 minutes to defrost and cook a meal. When I heard that I gained some insight into myself!!!! Yes, it seems like I’m continually on the patience journey.
I wonder if we did a little stock-take of our patience levels for one week what the results would show. For me I’m sure there would be some impatient moments related to technology, my husband and our children. Although by the grace of God, thankfully not as many as there used to be! If we let Him, God will continually transform us.
But the moment one turns to the Lord with an open heart, the veil is lifted and they see. Now, the “Lord” I’m referring to is the Holy Spirit, and wherever he is Lord, there is freedom.
We can draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces. And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another. And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 TPT
The Holy Spirit
The New King James Version says it this way,
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed in to the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
On this patience journey, there has been one scripture that the Holy Spirit often leads me to when I can feel myself getting frustrated and feeling like I want to step in and take control …
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6 NKJV
This scripture always stops in me my tracks.
And I am reminded of a situation a few years ago with an organisation I am connected with, where there was a lot of might and power happening, it was very ugly. After months the situation was resolved, not by the might and power, but by the Spirit.
And I am reminded of situations in our family, where using my own resources and wisdom (my might and power) I have tried and tried and tried to resolve issues. But then one day, by the Spirit, change comes and the issue is resolved.
In this season with three teenagers and one pre-teen, patience is certainly a virtue, and one I am relying on the Holy Spirit to develop more within me.
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. Galatians 5:22-23 TPT
Mary, the mother of Jesus
As a parent, I want patience that endures. I was thinking of a couple of parents we read about in the Scriptures, such as Mary the mother of Jesus. She knew before she became pregnant that the child she was carrying was the Son of God.
But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear; Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift. You will become pregnant with a baby boy, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be supreme and will be known as the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will enthrone him as King on his ancestor David’s throne. He will reign as King of Israel forever, and his reign will have no limit.” Luke 1:30-33 TPT
How patient would Mary have been, knowing that her son had this future ahead of Him, but having to wait on God’s perfect timing. I’m sure I would have had many moments of impatience and frustration thinking, “Why don’t you just get on with it and do your job now!”
We know from John 2, that eventually Mary does ask Jesus to do a public miracle when the wine runs out at the wedding in Cana.
And when Mary realised it, she came to him and asked, “They have no wine, can’t you do something about it?’ John 2:3 TPT
The footnote from The Passion Translation says, “This is a dilemma that Mary is hoping Jesus will solve by performing a miracle. Mary has no doubt about the power and anointing of her Son.“
The story goes on …
Jesus replied, “My dear one, don’t you understand that if I do this, it won’t change anything for you, but it will change everything for me! My hour of unveiling my power has not yet come.” John 2:4 TPT
Again, lets read the footnote from The Passion Translation, “For Mary, it will change her very little, but for Jesus, this will be his first public miracle and will dramatically change his ministry from this moment on as the crowds see the power he possesses. Jesus knows his miracle ministry will “come out of hiding” by performing a miracle. Yet with Mary’s encouragement, Jesus proceeds to do just that.”
God knows all the implications
There is so much for us to learn from that story. In relation to patience it shows how important it is that we gain understanding that God’s timing is perfect. He has the full picture, and knows all the implications for everyone involved.
For me as a mum I am always learning that God is at work in our children’s lives, even when I can’t see the physical outworking. Not by my might or my power, but by His Spirit, the transformation is happening. My role is to love and encourage – often with no words, just actions, and sometimes no actions either, but just interceding for them in prayer.
The father of the Prodigal Son
Another story in Scripture that came to mind is the parable Jesus told about the prodigal son. I wonder how long the son was away from home, and how often the father thought to himself, “Come on son, why don’t you just come home!”
But the father knew the son had to make his own decision to return home. It was another ‘not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit’ time.
I found this commentary from Oosterzee, regarding the father …
“The father has, however, been indirectly working for his recovery, by allowing him to bear all the consequences of his transgressions; he has, besides, been waiting patiently, and keeping both his heart and his house open to him.”
The father in the parable is just like our Father in Heaven, who keeps His heart and house open to us. He allows us to make our own decision to return to Him, first through salvation, and then each day as we continually yield to Him in different areas of our lives. God is love, and love is patient.
Love is …
I’m sure you know this scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, often read at weddings (how interesting that Jesus did His first public miracle at a wedding, an event celebrating love) …
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honour. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, it never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 TPT
When I read this scripture and think about God, these are all the qualities I picture in Him. And these are the qualities He wants to develop in us, including patience, not by our might, not by our power, but by His Spirit.
And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognised as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 The Message
The patience journey, only made truly possible when walking in His Spirit. Let’s walk that way today.
Looking for more encouragement?
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