By Lynn Powers
I have an odd sort of confession: it takes me forever to get dressed in the morning.
I'm not talking about my jeans, sweater and socks. Those things only take a minute to throw on (unless my jeans shrunk in the dryer!).
What I mean is getting dressed with the items God instructs me to put on in Colossians 3:12. Things like compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness.
When I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I don't feel very kind. And when my kids dilly-dally around before school in the morning, being gentle with them doesn't even cross my mind. I deal with putting on kindness and gentleness occasionally (of course, my kids might claim otherwise) but, overall, I don't struggle with them every day.
But I left out an item of clothing from Colossians. It's the one I have the toughest time putting on. It tends to pop up again and again and again. And again! You probably know which one I'm talking about.
Between traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store (or worse, the mall at Christmastime), my kids sloooow response to instructions, even waiting for my turn on the computer, my patience is tested on a daily basis.
Who's isn't, right? Everyone deals with "Move it, lady, I'm in a hurry!" moments from time to time.
On a larger scale, I know others who have struggled with waiting to find the right person God wants them to marry. Or waiting for a job offer. Or selling their house. Or getting pregnant.
Having patience for these things isn't easy! But, big or small, God wants us to wait on Him. And putting on patience - every day - is necessary. As Galatians 5 tells us, patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit. And when we deliberately put it on, we are directly obeying God and setting an example to others of who God is.
A friend once told me about a time she was in the grocery store and she was in a hurry. The lines were a mile long and with every moment she stood there, she grew more and more impatient. And she let everyone around her know she was in a hurry by shifting from foot to foot, fidgeting, sighing, rolling her eyes, you get the picture.
The Holy Spirit convicted her in that line and made her realize how foolishly she was acting. Not exactly the best representative of Christ.
Afterwards, looking back on it, she said the looks people were giving her made her feel like she was naked. It was then she realized why. She had forgotten to put on her patience.
Permanently seizing this virtue is not the easiest thing to do. But when we do choose to put on this vital piece of clothing, we're not only obeying God, but honoring Him.
With kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, there will be no need to go to the mall to shop for the perfect outfit to wear tomorrow. You'll already own it!
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