DEVOTIONAL READINGS FOR THE WEEK OF
The Bible is full of God’s kindness towards us. Read Isaiah 63: 7; Jeremiah 9: 24; Acts 14: 17; Matthew 9: 36, and Ephesians 2: 7. What most strikes you about how God has been kind to you?
The fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5: 22-23 over- lap a great deal because they are “fruit” and not “fruits,” so kindness is displayed in a variety of attitudes and behaviors. Some are shown in Psalm 111: 4; 2 Corinthians 9: 2; 1 Peter 3: 8; 1 Thessalonians 5: 14, and Colossians 4: 6. Which are most difficult for you?
Read - Galatians 5:22-26
How does patience in your life measure up with the rest of the fruit of the Spirit? Bottom half? Top few? It’s not meant to be divorced from them as they are all interrelated. As we prepare to gather this morning for worship, ask God to challenge and shape you with what His word says about patience, and reflect on what it means for Paul to say that “we live by the Spirit” and thus “keep in step with the Spirit.”
Read - Colossians 3:12
Paul’s letter to the church exhorts the people to “put on” a number of virtues. With same language behind getting dressed in the morning, Paul tells people to open up their day with choosing patience among other things. He bases this in the fact that we are in Christ and God’s chosen and beloved people. Can you think of a way to integrate “choosing patience” or “predeciding to be patient” into your morning routine? How can you wear patience today?
Read - Psalm 37:1-7
David writes a psalm which encourages patience, even in confrontation with evil and hardship. In the verses leading up to 7, he encourages us to “trust” and “delight” and “commit” (NIV) according to God’s faithfulness - that we would see our circumstances in light of who God is and what He has promised. Are you or a friend you know facing circumstances in which you’re required to “wait patiently for the Lord”? What truths from this Psalm of David might speak to your/their circumstances?
Read - Ecclesiastes 7:8-9, James 1:19, Proverbs 15:8
It’s easy for people to use positive values to justify impatience: punctuality, respect, organization, etc. Yet a failure to weed out seeds of impatience often sees them grow into more dangerous manifestations: bitterness and anger. Can you think of a time when impatience produced a hurtful outburst? Can you think of an ongoing conversation with a friend that always descends into quick-tempered responses? Take a moment to pray for Spirit-led patience in these conversations.
Read - Hebrews 6:13-15
Abraham had to wait many, many years between receiving a promise from God and that promise becoming fulfilled. Impatience often results when God’s timing doesn’t line up very well with our own. Discontent in those moments is driven by the rigidity of our own me-centered time-table. Patience seeks contentment even when our desires don’t go to plan. Where in your own life have prayers been met with a response of God saying “wait”? How can you fight for contentment in the midst of the waiting?