As I contemplated how to structure this perusing of the nine fruits of the Spirit, I explored several options. However, I came up with no consistent way to present them, so this may be done pretty randomly. I may even have some guest posts. In the spirit of keeping it real, I will begin talking about the fruit I believe is my own greatest weakness. Patience.
Let’s paint a little backdrop first. This blog is specifically created to help me focus my energy as a worship leader. When you think of a worship leader, what comes to mind? As I have said before, I believe everyone on the stage at church leading worship is a worship leader. But what about the people in the seats? Are they worship leaders too?
They can and should be, if they are born again believers. Simply put, a worship leader points others to God. Even if you have no musical role on stage on Sunday morning (or any other day of the week), if you believe in Jesus as your personal Savior, your words, actions, and gifts should be used to glorify Him. We are worship leaders not only within the walls of our churches, but also within the walls of our homes, and in public. Yikes!
“Simply put, a worship leader points others to God.”
Now with that little backdrop painted, I will get back to my personal weakness. I picture a shriveling grape that has been on a plate my kids left on top of the fridge that I can’t see because I am too short…..true story by the way. That must be a bit like what my patience level looks like to God; a shriveled grape. It is not a healthy fruit in every area of my life. I have patience with people at church and even in public – most of the time. Grocery lines and driving can test me for sure. The place where I most lack this important fruit is at home.
Here I am, trying to teach my children to grow in, and exhibit, the Fruits of the Spirit and all they see are my shriveled grapes. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” For me as a parent, waiting to see the fruits of my labors in my three pre-adolescent daughters is exhausting. Though as long as I have been alive now, one would think I would have the wisdom to have a greater handle on this patience thing! Subconsciously, I think I have been waiting to see fruit produce in them, before I deem them worthy of gifting them my patience. Shocking truth unveiled in myself as I prayed about writing this one over several days! It makes me very sad to find evidence of this in myself. How much more sad must that make God.
Remember that verse in Ephesians – the one about ‘children obey their parents in the Lord’, yada yada. Well, look at the next command written there in verse 4. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Do not exasperate your children! Interesting it doesn’t tell them not to exasperate me!? Hmmm….I wonder why.
Here is what I think. I think that as I continue to show grace to my kids in their weaknesses, I am mirroring God’s grace to me. I do show them grace, but I probably go a bit overboard harping on their mistakes first. That isn’t really for their benefit; it’s for mine. I want to see progress now. I want them to be decent human beings for sure. But also, right now, I want them to make it easier for me! That is the problem. It is not in expecting more and greater things from them, but in my motives for doing so.
“I think that as I continue to show grace to my kids in their weaknesses, I am mirroring God’s grace to me.”
In my family, I need to focus on being more graciously patient with my children. Now, I know there are other areas of my life where I lack patience, like in certain trials. God is working on me in those! Patience is such a scary little word, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be if we trust God. But that is just it, isn’t it? We struggle to trust God. We think that we can do it all ourselves, make ourselves nice and clean and then present ourselves to Him at the great judgment with a pasted on smile knowing we did it.
The trouble with that is we can’t do it. We can’t be patient on our own. The good news – that is what the Spirit of God does while dwelling in us! He IS the fruit of the Spirit in us. It is there. We just have to let go and let Him do it through us. Let that soak in…..I know I will!
Now let’s see if I can let go this week and trust God enough to show my children, through me, how much He loves them.
After I started this blog post, but before it had completely taken shape, my youngest daughter did something completely selfless that gave me the hope I needed to trust God a little more. She brought us this lovely breakfast, in bed, that she made herself. Isn’t that sweet!