WHICH “FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT” IS A DIAMOND?
An amazing thing happened this week that proved to me that through faith and quoting a particular scripture, one of the Fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22 had fully developed and we didn’t even know it.
This past Wednesday I woke up in a sweat. I checked the thermostat and it was over 80 degrees at 4 a.m.! The temperatures have been 109 degrees to 113 degrees during the day so we had to get this fixed as soon as possible. I had to be at work and my roommate Jane had an appointment at 1:00 p.m. and we had to think about the cat and the dog and call the insurance people who would call the air conditioning company and we also needed to figure out a place to stay until it could be fixed—lots of arranging to do and chock full of pressure.
We actually handled it well, one thing at a time. Jane took me to work, called the insurance, went back to check on the animals, called me, and was able to make her 1 o’clock appointment. The air conditioning guys couldn’t make it out until Friday, so the next two days were a whirlwind of driving me to work, driving back to check on the animals, getting our stuff to the motel and checked in, back again to check on the animals, getting a ride after work to the motel. And in the middle of this, we had a quick rainstorm and a flash flood.
But with all the tension and stress of the situation we didn’t even argue one time. When the anxiety mounted up, we shut up, and didn’t let it out of our mouths. We just kept our trust in the Lord that all would be well, the air conditioning would be an easy fix, the animals would be fine and everything would be okay. And it was.
Galatians 5:22 tells us “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” We received some of that “longsuffering” fruit. The Greek word for “longsuffering” means “patient enduring.”
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says: “Patience only grows in trial.” In other words, patience is only developed under pressure, so we don’t even know we have it until we’re put to the test.
Lots of times we don’t really see what the Spirit is doing to change our lives and we even may wonder if anything is really happening. I know that since the beginning of the year, Jane and I have had several opportunities to be stressed. We were both very aware of the reason: I started working on publishing my second WINGS book. The adversary hit me with just about everything he could to get me to quit. But with Jane’s help and the help of friends like you, I didn’t give up.
Every day on the way to work I would say Philippians 4:6 and 7 along with the other scriptures we quote. It says: “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Then when this incident with the air conditioning happened and we were put under even more pressure, we just kept the faith and trusted in the Lord all the way through. We even got a mini miracle: The air conditioning guys were scheduled to come late Friday afternoon, but they had a cancellation so they were able to come at 9 a.m.
When the whole incident was over, we discovered that in this experience, the fruit had become fully ripe. I can honestly say, it’s as if the whole thing never happened.
We talked this morning about what could have happened if we had let the stress get to us: we could have argued about things, which would have brought about emotional strife, which would have remained and would have needed to be handled after the incident of the air conditioning was long over.
So many other negative things could have happened and lingered beyond the actual incident, but because that fruit of patience (longsuffering) was already developed, when the incident was over, the stress just fell off like a scab and had no more effect on us at all – like it never even happened.
It’s not great, humanly, that patience (longsuffering) only gets developed under pressure. It’s just NOT fun, but once you’ve been through it, it’s amazing and thrilling and a great joy to know you really have it.
Like Jane reminded me this morning, a diamond is formed only under pressure. And we’ve found that true forbearance (patience) is a very precious diamond to own.
WINGS 2: JOURNEY WITH JESUS is available now on Amazon Kindle. Paperback coming soon.