Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent III

The mood of Advent is one of waiting.  Waiting is not what we do very easily.  We are much too impatient to wait on something as significant as Christmas, or as insignificant as a traffic light changing from red to green.  Patience we do not do very well.  It would seem that it would be something which we could master, but just when it seems that we have it well in hand, something happens which blows it for us.  The problem is our patience is never measured or tested in a planned manner.  If our spontaneous natural reaction to a particular situation where patience is tested is not one of patience then whatever is natural is going to come forth as an expression of what is really inside of us.
When the Apostle Paul speaks of patience in that "fruit of the Spirit" passage, he is declaring that being patient is not something we do, but something that the Spirit of God enables us to do.  When our hearts are under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit instead of our self-seeking, self-serving ego we are able to respond differently.  Sometimes in life our pursuit of one thing results in finding something unexpected.  A search for patience may prove to be a fruitless exercise.  Patience is not so much an end in itself as a product of a life that is rightly oriented toward God, others, and the soul within us.

In these early days of Advent with its focus on how God has acted through the coming of Christ and how He is about to act through the future coming of His Son, we can focus our attention on making our hearts ready for whatever it is that God desires to do in us and through us.  As we look toward God with a "do whatever You choose...make me useful in whatever way You choose," we may come to a deeper awareness of how our heart is being shaped by the Holy Spirit producing the fruit of the Spirit in us...even the illusive thing we call patience.

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