I have been practicing being thankful these past days. Each day I have made it a habit to run through my day and thank God for all the things that I can think of that happened. It flows from another habit I have of praying the Scriptures.
May you be empowered with every sort of power that is in keeping with His glorious might that with joy you may fully endure and learn to be completely patient, thanking the Father... Colossians 1:11-12 (CCNT)
I am on the learning curve... I am a rather impatient person by nature. God has sifted much of this out of me over the past decade through various means - like children, financial problems, my mom's illness, and my current job related separation from my husband. This sifting has not been without pain or loss in any area! The whole idea of sifting or skimming the dross or separating the wheat from the chaff...all these imply pain.
I suspect that is why Paul prays we would be empowered with every sort of power in Him. This is tough stuff and hard work. It would be impossible to endure these changes without the power of God actively working in and on our hearts. I have been most recently learning to fully endure and be joyful, patient, and thankful in the midst of difficulties.
I so often want to grumble and complain about my circumstances! My heart is still so self oriented that I simply want what I want and NOW please. Paul says that patience, like contentment, is a learned quality. This is why so much of our lives and so many of our trials involve waiting. Our extended stays in the waiting room of life bring to the forefront all the ugly stuff that is in the heart and enables us to learn how to deal with it biblically.
Impatience is a difficult companion. It brings anger, rage, frustration, lusts of the flesh, deception, and even physical violence along as side kicks. How our flesh fights against responding biblically when the word is once again, "WAIT" Our preference is to rage against the circumstances and manipulate what we can to effect the change we want to take place.
God is building in us complete patience during our trials and our love-response to Him is to be one of thanksgiving in spite of how we may feel. Certainly we can point to the Word and find Scripture that commands us to be patient and thankful, however that is nothing more than behaviorism. In Psalm 51 David says, For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. God is not desirous of our rote performance, He is after the HEART!
Bringing your heart in subjection to the Lord in this area may be very challenging, but because of the power you possess in Christ it is not impossible. If you are an impatient person, struggling with God's timetable in your life in any area you may want to make application of the following principles to your heart and watch them overflow into your life.
Confess to the Lord your pride in refusing to submit to His sovereignty. Impatience is an aspect of refusing to bow the knee to Him. He is perfectly in control of all the events taking place in your life, and has known before time began how this would all work out and when.
Develop a thankful heart. Thank God for everything, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus, that you be thankful in all things! Confess your ingratitude to Him and your lack of appreciation for what changes He is making in your heart through all of this.
Determine that you will bring Him glory in spite of your own wants, perceived needs, and desires. Determine to respond biblically. Refresh your heart and thoughts with His Word, letting its truth and declarations of love wash over you daily. Reminding yourself often that He does not bring us into things without purpose.
Accept what He is doing, willingly and graciously. I will remind you again and again that He is completely in charge of every timetable of every person on the planet. There is no need to fret or panic or be overcome by terror or fury. God has it all under control. Rest...