Have “Patience.

But the Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!    Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

I live off a highway approximately 8 KM from town. The speed limit changes several times, starting at 80 KPH and slowing to 70, then 50. The highway is lined with homes, so it’s not as if this stretch of road is isolated or free from local traffic. Sometimes, when I exit my driveway onto the road, I feel like a Formula One driver trying to enter the traffic flow after a pit stop. It appears on this stretch of highway that the speed limit is irrelevant, double or single solid lines have no meaning, and weather conditions don’t seem to matter. There have been accidents on the road, as evidenced by skid marks, vehicle bits on the road, and broken safety barriers. I have no idea why people drive as they do on this stretch of road. There is a traffic light just as you enter town, and nine times out of ten, the patient drivers end up behind the impatient one at the lights. Speeding or driving erratically did not gain anyone extra time. 

Admittedly, when people are passing under foolish circumstances, I sing, in my head, the chorus of a song that we taught our kids when they were younger: 

“Have patience, have patience don’t be in such a hurry.
 When you get impatient, you only start to worry”.
(Sung by Herbert the Snail).  

We seem to be living in a time where immediate results are expected. Many lack the patience to wait their turn. They willingly and aggressively push others aside when that person’s needs cause the slowdown of someone else’s gratification. The evidence is all around us. Watch how people treat retail clerks, older adults, children, and fellow drivers on the road. Nothing pushes another’s emotional button quicker than an impatient individual. Impatience leads to worry, stress, anger and eventually high blood pressure. 

When we choose to be disciples of Christ, we are saying we want to follow Jesus’ advice and truths, including His promise to transform us from people self-focused and controlled by our urges. Followers of Christ want God’s power to live the life God intended for humanity: a life of compassion, hope, goodness, and patience. Paul tells followers that because the Holy Spirit lives within us, we are helped to pursue that righteous life. He says we can recognize the Spirit’s transforming power by the fruit that grows from this transformed life. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control become our identifiable characteristics. These fruits indicate to us and others that we have released our will to God, changing us into people who can live harmonious relationships with God and others. Following and practising Jesus’ commandments of loving God and others (Matthew 22:36-40) is essential today. Patience (forbearance used in some translations) is an attribute of a transformed life and a reflection of our love.  

The closing line of Herbert the Snail’s chorus includes, 

“Remember, remember that God is patient, too.
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you”.

What an excellent thought to reflect on this week as you enter the race.
Reduce worry and stress – by being patient!