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    How Does God Build Your Character?

    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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    Jenn Arman
    Jenn Arman is a youth pastor, freelance writer and blogger. She was born in San Diego, California and raised 2 hours north east in the Inland Empire where she lives with her husband David and their cats. Jenn desires to bring glory to God and a healthy dose of reality to Christians through both writing and preaching. Visit jenniferarman.com for more on her work. You can also connect with her on www.facebook.com/JenniferArman.Writer and https://twitter.com/JennArman

    5 COMMENTS

    1. Yeah, I seem to notice that too. 🙂 Love how He discipline us and teach us things in a really different but awesome way. <3 This is such a good reminder for me and what I really needed to hear right now. Thanks and God bless!

    2. At my school this year, out theme is ‘The Fruit Of The Spirit’. We always have awards, and this year each student is rewarded with an award for having love, joy, peace, and so on. <— I just had to say that… 😀

      I really loved this Bible Study, Jenn!! I've never been that great at being patient, either, or having self-control. I'd never thought about God using the things we're not the best at to stretch us, but that makes a lot of sense!!

    3. This reminds me of a quote from the movie Evan Almighty: “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does He give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give him courage, or does He give them opportunities to be courageous? If someone prays for their family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does He give them opportunities to love each other?”
      Great article!

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