by Joyce Meyer. Source: http://www.joycemeyer.org/Articles/Devotional.aspx
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. —James 1:4
“Due season” is God’s season, not ours. We are in a hurry, God isn’t. He takes time to do things right—He lays a solid foundation before He attempts to build a building. We are God’s building under construction. He is the Master Builder, and He knows what He is doing. We may not know what He is doing, but He does, and that will have to be good enough. We may not always know, but we can be satisfied to know the One Who knows.
God’s timing seems to be His own little secret. The Bible promises us that He will never be late, but I have also discovered that He is usually not early. It seems that He takes every available opportunity to develop the fruit of patience in us.
Vine’s dictionary of Greek words begins the definition of patience (in James 1:3), as “Patience, which grows only in trial.” Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that grows under trial. My own particular natural temperament is filled with impatience. I have become much more patient over the years, but all the waiting required to teach me patience was hard on me. I wanted everything now!
Patience is vital to the development of our full potential. Actually, our potential is only developed as our patience is developed. It is God’s way—there is no other, so why not settle down and enjoy the journey?
As I look back over my life and the journey God has brought me on, I notice that there have been many times when God has spoken to me about what He is teaching me in that season – perseverance, grace, light, passion, patience and many others. My current season is to learn reliance on Him.
I have been brought to a place where I am unable to do anything. I have run out of myself. I have nothing left to give. Suddenly it becomes clear to me that every lesson He taught me in the past I assumed to be about me. My persevering, my grace, my light, my patience, my passion. While I am at the centre – God is not. It’s no coincidence that sin has ”I” at the centre.
How wonderful that God is not confined to my limited abilities, but rather constantly looking for an opportunity to display His!
My perseverance has burnt out. His perseverance is solid and eternal. I can rely on His perseverance to rescue others (and me!)
My grace is small and fragile, but His grace is abundant, reckless and relentless! I do not need to exhaust myself loving others, but simply yield to God loving them through me.
My light flickers and is feeble, but His light constantly shines in the darkness and cannot be snuffed out. I can walk in His light which always shows the way and draws people to Him.
My patience runs for a while but suddenly fails me after a long-term trial. His patience calmly waits until I am ready to fall back into His hands again and remind me that he has never turned away.
My passion erupts in a burst of enthusiasm but starts to wane when it gets tough or tedious. His passion cost Him His life on the cross, but even that could not silence Him as He stormed the gates of hell restoring even the dead in the graveyards to return to life. His passion brings life where before there was only death. His breath of life is indomitable and inevitable.
Again and again as I give up relying on myself and look to Him, He fills me with Himself and the Kingdom of God advances.
Are you perfect yet? No, I’m not either.
The desire for perfection drives us to achieve, to get those perfect grades, that perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect body, the perfect partner or family. But we never quite get there. It’s like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We make mistakes, someone in our workplace drives us nuts, chores are always waiting to be done, we get spots and other blemishes, our partner snores. Perfection simply doesn’t exist in this world! If we strive for perfection and don’t have a healthy perspective about it we will just end up feeling constantly disappointed, even depressed. Without perspective we try to achieve a fantasy we end up imprisoned by. We can become workaholics and burn ourselves out for that perfect assignment or the promotion that might bring more prestige, but also demands more maintenance and overtime. We can surround ourselves with pictures of the perfect house that requires huge amounts of money to maintain and clean to keep it that way, or pictures of models that have been touched up to create the illusion of the perfect body. We can do everything under the sun to please the perfect partner or be the perfect parent, only to find that they ditch you because you lose your personality in the process or they simply can’t live up to your expectations.
Perspective knows that perfection does not exist in this world. There will always be pips. Perspective also knows that you don’t need perfection to enjoy something. There’s always fruit to enjoy if you look hard enough. You might not achieve perfect grades, but actually you know a whole lot more than you did before you began the course, some of it was even interesting and enjoyable. Yes, Bob’s a pain sometimes, but for now I have a job, I can afford to eat and rent a room. House not perfect? Wow, I have a house? Yes, I’m getting cellulite, but I’m told I have the most wonderful smile that lights up my whole face. My husband and the kids leave stuff lying around all over the place, but they also went out of their way to hand-make my birthday cards and my favourite night is Friday night when we all huggle up on the sofa eating fish and chips and watching a film.
If you’re using your analytical brain a lot, if you’re tired or unwell or just downright stressed, perspective and appreciation do not come so easily. But if you regularly practise them for a little while, you’ll soon find that they happen naturally. I used to be an accountant and became very depressed chasing perfect budgets and perfect numbers. The drive for perfection infected other areas of my life and I became very ill for a long period of time. Then I discovered the very simple act of looking for the good things in my life, things to be thankful for. It was such a simple thing to do but it had a profound impact on my state of mind and it was the turning point in my recovery.
Now, each new day is special. There are days when it’s hard, if I’m in pain or something doesn’t work out as quickly or as well as I’d hoped. If I’m surrounded by perfectionists and critics it can be difficult to remember what fruit looks like anymore. I also like new happenings and experiences so I can start to feel down when I feel stuck doing the same old same old. On these days I’ve found the following really blesses me and I pray that it will bless you too:
To fully explore the incredible patience that is ours, we must take time to discover all that God has already given us. One day patience gave me a gentle prodding with one simple question, “Is this your greatest day ever?”
The day God posed this question to me, I didn’t understand why. What a strange question to ask on such an ordinary day, I thought as I hurried about my kitchen, packing lunches and fixing breakfast. I knew God was prompting me to answer this question He’d put on my heart, but I was on a tight schedule trying to get everyone ready and out the door.
I tied bows around pigtails and ponytails, kissed my husband good-bye, and changed the baby’s diaper. I called a friend while I cleaned the kitchen and then called another while making the beds. Then the question stirred my soul once more, only this time it came with a slight twist:
If you had no children and then suddenly today you were blessed with toys to organize, bedtime stories to tell, and little messy hands to wipe, wouldn’t it be your greatest day ever?
If you were paralyzed and then today you suddenly could climb the stairs, run after a toddler, jump up and down cheering for your teen, wouldn’t this be your greatest day ever?
If you had no husband, and then today God gave you a man to do laundry help for, help fold his collar over his tie, cook his favourite meal, and wrap your arms around as you fell asleep, wouldn’t this be your greatest day ever?
If you had no home, then suddenly you were blessed with dishes to wash, beds to make, weeds to pull, and floors to sweep, wouldn’t this be your greatest day ever?
If you had no friends and then today you had one who wanted your advice, another who wanted to come over and visit, and another who just wanted to share a funny story with you, wouldn’t this be your greatest day ever?
If you had no sight, then suddenly today you were blessed with a blue sky to gaze up at, a child’s smile to catch a glimpse of, and a beautiful flower to admire, wouldn’t this be your greatest day ever?
If you had no Saviour, then suddenly today you learned of the One who died in your place so that you could be forgiven, healed, and set free, wouldn’t this be your greatest day ever?
I was brought to my knees withh the realization that somewher in the middle of all the gifts, I’d forgotten the Giver. Psalm 118:24 reminds us, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
From Who Holds The Key to Your Heart by Lysa Terkeurst