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And this morning, we’re going to talk about the fourth fruit shown by folks who are living by the Spirit, and now I’m talking about patience. And I’ll tell you, this is another one of those characteristics that’s a little sketchy in our world, as I think this little video illustrates.
I’ll tell you, I think we’ve all known people a little like the impatient friend in the video. But I’ve got to tell you, when I saw it the first time, I was kind of surprised by how frustrated I was with the other girl. I mean, why did she waste so much time getting everything arranged in the car and what was the deal in the restaurant, just order your food for crying out loud? I’ve got to tell you, that was frustrating, and it sort of surprised me. But what made me really uncomfortable was how often I act like the impatient one. I mean, nobody’s going to watch a complete show if I have the remote control. And I often interpret a yellow light as the universal symbol for acceleration. And just ask Debbie how often she’s finished a meal before me. I’m afraid that I’m a charted member of the impatient club. But, having said that, I don’t think I’m alone, not in our instant gratification world. I mean, I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t see a whole lot of folks who have either the ability or the willingness to take a step back and wait for much of anything. In fact, I think most of us are more like little Wednesday Addams in the movie, The Addams Family. They’re eating supper, and Wednesday asks her Uncle Fester to pass the salt. Mortica says to her, “What do we say?” You know, like “what’s the magic word?” And Wednesday says, “Now.” “Lord, give me patience. And give it to me now.” Or one I like even better, “Lord, give me patience, because if you give me strength, I’m going to need bail money too.” Let’s face it, patience is a real challenge for people now-a-days.
You see, it’s actually a gift. That’s what biblical patience is all about, and I’ll tell you, that’s the kind of patience that we’re called to show, as best we can. And even though it won’t be easy, I think it’s possible. I’m telling you, it’s possible for us to be patient, but to develop it, to develop Christian patience, I think it demands three things. And let me briefly tell you what they are.
Of course, having said all this, I don’t expect to see a major up-tick in patience anytime soon. I mean, most people want immediate gratification, and they assume that waiting is actually a sign of weakness, you know, a sign that we lack confidence and principles and courage. You see, that’s what a lot of folks think. But of course, that’s not how God’s patience is described. For him, it’s a sign of both his mercy and authority and something we can only receive as a gift. And as believers whom Paul challenged to show this same quality in our lives, we can recognize that it’s going to demand humility and love and faith on our part. Of course, this kind of patience, it’s not going to be easy. But I’ll tell you, when we make the decision and put forth the effort, if they make a video of us, we’re going to be known as the friend who’s patient.