REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, was first posted on April 22, 2013. He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“A Prayer of ‘Impatient’ Person”
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
I am by nature not the most patient person. I am like that proverbial man who prayed, “Lord, give me patience and I need it now!” Whenever I am in the grocery store, I automatically scan the lines to run an algorithm through my mind to compute the waiting time for each line based on factors as such, the number of people, grocery items, whether they have a check book ready, and the alertness of the cashier! Now you can see why this prayer can be very challenging to someone like me.
Sometimes, a literal rendering gives a better feel for the passage and that is the case here. My seminary professor translated this passage as, “To wait, I waited for the Lord,” or “waiting, I waited for the Lord.” Eugene Peterson, in the Message, translates it as, “I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally, he listened.” Here, Peterson’s rendering gives a different look at David’s prayer. Perhaps he wasn’t waiting patiently at all if by patience we mean a serene, trust-filled waiting! Giving credence to that view is what David does later in Psalm 40: he cries out, saying, “Come quickly to save me” (v.13) and “Do not delay!” (v.17). Here, David’s prayer, while it is intense and desperate, does not evoke a sense of patience.
Of course, Psalm 40 does not teach us to be impatient, for being patient is a very good thing. But the Psalmist also shows us that waiting for God’s timing, at times, is difficult for us to bear mainly because of the urgency of our situations. And yet, like the Psalmist, let us continue to pray and hope in God. As we cry out like the Psalmist, we will find that there is peace available in God.
Are you patient or impatient in your prayers? Keep praying! God is listening.
Prayer: Father, I ask that you forgive my impatience. Help me to trust in your timing for all things. I thank you that you hear my prayers. Help me to remain faithful in my prayers, knowing that you are faithful in all that you do. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 22
Lunch Break Study
Read Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV): But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Questions to Consider
- The first word in verse 22 is “but”. What is Paul contrasting the fruit of the Spirit with (c.f. verses 19-21)?
- Is there significance to Paul’s use of the singular “fruit” vs. plural “fruits”? Is there one fruit of the Spirit or nine fruits of the Spirit?
- If we are seeking patience (amongst other things), how does Paul tell us to go about getting it?
- Paul is contrasting the fruit that comes from the Spirit with acts of the sinful nature, such as “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” While we are prone to such acts, the Spirit works in us to produce an entirely different fruit. There is a further contrast between the fruit of the Spirit and living under the Law (verse 18).
- Scholars have debated among three main options:
- Paul was being imprecise in his grammar; in other words, he meant fruits.
- The fruit of the Holy Spirit is a nine-fold fruit.
- There is one fruit of the Holy Spirit, namely love. All the other “fruits” mentioned are aspects of love.
Most scholars have supported the final option for grammatical, logical and scriptural reasons (see 1 Peter 4:8-10; Romans 12:9,10; 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:31; 13; 14:1). As one writer put it: “Joy is love singing, peace is love resting, patience is love enduring, kindness is love sharing, goodness is love’s character, faithfulness is love’s habit, gentleness is love’s touch, and self-control is love in charge.”
3. Love, joy, peace, patience and other virtues are called fruit of the Spirit because they are the products of the Spirit’s work within us. We cannot try to become more patient; we can only seek more of the Holy Spirit’s transforming work within us so that we will become more patient. Patience, along with other fruits, is the product of living in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Living by the Holy Spirit is contrasted with living under the Law and living under human nature. We are not to be legalistic or carnal but submit our hearts and wills to the Spirit of God.
Think over the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Praise God that he is working in us to produce such fruit! When we submit our hearts to the Holy Spirit, we are able to love as God loves. Indeed, submission to the Holy Spirit will do what the Mosaic Law was unable to do: make us obey the spirit of the Mosaic Law, which is love (Gal 5:14). Our focus then is not on trying to become more loving, joyful, peaceful, and patient but rather on surrendering our lives to the Holy Spirit.
Where are you lacking? In our journals today, let us ask the Holy Spirit for his transformation. Confess and submit your areas of weakness and ask for the Spirit to fill you with more of God’s love.