Every holiday season when my sisters and I were young, we’d tear through the house whenever my mom was gone and try to find where she’d hidden our Christmas presents. It was usually my idea.
I’ve never been very good at being patient.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve noticed that God has often placed me with people or in situations that seemed to require way more patience than I had. Recently the Holy Spirit finally helped me understand why.
That’s how God builds our character.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
Have you ever asked God for more of these things? I have. I ask God for more patience and love for others all the time. Maybe you’ve asked God to help you be more kind or faithful, or to have more self-control. If you have, then it’s important for you to recognize how God answers this particular prayer.
God isn’t a magical wizard. Most of the time when we ask for more of a certain virtuous character trait like patience, God doesn’t just wave a wand and magically give us more patience. Occasionally, at certain times when we need patience right at that moment, God will give us an abundance for a specific situation, but usually that’s not how God works.
What I’ve noticed in my life is that if I want more patience, God will place me in a situation that requires more patience than I have. When He does that, it causes me to rely on the Holy Spirit and stretches my level of patience permanently. When I come out of those situations, I find that my level of patience has increased—sometimes a little bit and sometimes a lot.
The same is true with love for others, faithfulness to God, self-control, kindness, courage, etc. In order to build these things in us, God places us in situations where He can stretch us. If He didn’t stretch us, then there would be no room for increase.
So the next time you ask God to give you more of one of these traits, and then you find yourself in a situation that requires more of that trait than you have, don’t get frustrated.
Instead, take joy in the knowledge that God has heard and is answering your prayer.
Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:13-14).
Girls, does God use this character-building strategy in your lives?
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