Perfection and Patience

When I was a new Christian I remember being told, “Don’t ever pray for patience.”  I didn’t understand the reason for such counsel because to my way of thinking patience was something I was sorely in need of!  I learned by listening to others that praying for patience often brings trials and hardship and those are two things I was supposed to avoid at all costs!

As I grew in my Christian life I learned that it is foolishness to follow that line of thinking. Trials and hardships are two of God’s most effective ways of conforming us to the image and likeness of Christ. Understandably we don’t like pain or suffering so when either of those enter into life we quickly tell the Lord that we don’t want them, and we ask Him to take away who or whatever has brought them our way.

Many women I meet want instant spiritual change. They are not interested in the hard work and discomfort that comes with spiritual growth and change and some will tell me outright that they are not interested in the process, they just want the result. It is more important to them to get where they feel God wants them to be, or doing what they feel He wants them to be doing.  In reality, what they are revealing is a stubborn heart of pride that wants its own way. Couching it in their feelings rather than admitting it is a belief of entitlement makes it acceptable to those who listen to them because society validates feelings over thoughts. Many are just not interested in cooperating with the Lord in the situations of life that bring change and growth. 

However, the Lord is a great believer in the process of biblical change. He is less interested you getting the result you want and more interested in what is going on in your heart as you are presented with the challenges He has designed to grind off the rough edges or to do a complete overhaul of your heart. He intends for you and I to learn things as we go through the process; things about Him and things about ourselves. Furthermore, I have observed (and learned by personal experience) that the process is much longer and much more frustrating when we try to fight with God or try to convince (manipulate) Him to do things our way. 

This is futile for God does what He wants with what is His. He will bring about His purposes in your life in His own perfect timing. Even when you don't see Him at work, rest assured He is accomplishing things behind the scenes, plowing the hard soil of your heart, sowing seeds of faithfulness and trust, and tending to the garden of your heart. He promises to bring about a harvest of righteousness in the life of each person that is His.  One day, you will reflect the likeness of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6