TRUTH: I’m not a very patient person. I want to get better at this. Basically, I want patience and I want it now!
So I’ve been learning over the past few years that the world doesn’t revolve around me. Just about every time I think it is, God puts someone in my life to tell me it isn’t. Which is kind of frustrating, because it is easier for me to do what I want when I want because I want to. When I get to thinking about it though, that doesn’t really work to well in life. It really doesn’t make for much living when people must perform how I expect them to.
A few years ago, my buddy Kent and I were talking about 1 Corinthians 13. He told me that in South Africa, the word they use for patient is “long-suffering.” I remember this conversation because he told me that many South Africans understood suffering in some ways that we do not.
What I’m learning is that love is long suffering. When I’ve traded in love for anger, love for bitterness, love for lust, love for pride I’ve found myself a little less human than I was created to be. I find myself a little less like the new creation Jesus made me, the one that the Scriptures tell me about.
Love is long-suffering but when we trade reality in for fantasy we will find ourselves empty. After all, you just hollowed out another area of your soul that was full of love and filled it with nothing. The whimsical desires never last. The momentary drive for pleasure is just that…momentary. There is no satisfaction.
So here’s the funny thing. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago in which I encouraged guys to just go for it. Because we should sometimes. And sometimes, you gotta learn something new. That is that another heart is not ready for what you have to give when you’re ready to give it, or that you may not be ready to receive what another person has to give to you. Isn’t it interesting how often this happens in our lives?
Girl likes guy. Guy doesn’t like girl. Girl tries for guy. Guy resists. Girl backs off. Guy misses girl. Guy likes girl. Guy tries for girl. Girl resists.
Guy likes girl. Girl doesn’t like guy. Guy tries for girl. Girl resists. Guy backs off. Guy tries again. Guy tries again. Guy’s continual pursuit breaks down the walls that the girl has up, and she gives in. Or he becomes a creeper. Or she calls the cop and he gets a restraining order put on him, and becomes a supercreeper and he probably needs to switch states and maybe even sections of the country.
If the girl gets to the crazy pursuing, let’s just all admit that is kind of freaky, crazy, and eventually the guy is gonna hide in a foxhole cause he can’t take it anymore.
This I am coming to learn…love is long-suffering. And I will also tell you this. I am not naturally long-suffering. I am anything but that. I am wanting what I want when I want, a product of this flesh that Paul writes about in Romans 7. The very thing I want to do I do not do, and the thing I hate doing is the thing I end up doing. What a wretch I am. What a wretch we all are, but praise God that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
What a beautiful reality. Because it isn’t fantasy. It is truth. So now, I am trying to align my mind with what God has already done in me. That’s what we do. We are transformed, and now we submit to God and let him work on our minds.
I think a great thing to do whether you’re single is to train yourself for patience. For endurance. For long-suffering. This can work a lot of different ways.
Stay on the elliptical for five extra minutes even though you think you’re done.
When you’re at a social gathering, have eyes that observe the situation and ask the host, “Can I help serve or clean one way or another?”
When someone talks your ear off, and you are so done listening to them…re-engage and listen. Because you’re working on being a better lover.
I know it’s not natural. It goes agains the flesh, but it is the way of Jesus. Love is long-suffering.