“Patience is disciplined strength.”
I heard the Lord speak those words into my spirit after I sent the message. I’d like to say I heard right away, but it was days later when I’d tapped back into my prayer life that I heard God’s correction. Because I had strayed from the confines of the Spirit, I needed to repent…and ask a brother’s forgiveness.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.~Galatians 5:22-23a NKJV
Patience is a spiritual fruit. The King James Version calls this “longsuffering.” We attain this by remaining under God’s authority. I had not. My workload had become my “god,” which sent patience packing.
Friend, have you been there? Please tell me I’m not the only one. I’d let stressful days overwhelm me, with a list of To-Do’s, where prioritizing them looked like spaghetti on a plate, every one vying for the number one spot. Am I alone in this? Or have you been there too?
After tumbling from my throne, asking my brother’s forgiveness, and bowing before my King to receive His forgiveness, I decided to put action steps in place. I jotted God’s words on a sticky note and put it on my pencil jar. Thus, I would not be able to write anything without seeing the message, and my pencils are in full view of my computer so with every keystroke, I’d notice the words. With every message, every email, every voice mail I’d weigh it with the question, “Are you practicing disciplined strength?”
Change would come over time. I’m stubborn at accepting changes. But I know our heavenly Father disciplines us out of love to make us better people. Discipline is not pleasant, but it is necessary for our spiritual growth.
Our heavenly Father is patient as He molds our character to be like His. Knowing this helps us to accept the process—patiently—willingly.
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor grow weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”~Hebrews 12:5b-6 ESV
The other change I made was to quiet my thoughts with His. He comes first; my love for Him compels me to prioritize Him. But I kept slipping. I needed to change this before it became a habit. I would make sure I did so.
In my case, setting a bedtime alarm would help me to maintain the discipline of coming to Him in the cool of the morning before the sun would rise and the day’s activities would vie for my attention. I found that although I still could not get everything done I wanted to accomplish in a day, I had become more productive and less stressed.
I also quieted my To-Do list. I focused on one task—the one in front of me—and let the others wait their turn. Even those that had a deadline Had. To. Wait.
“Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.~Mark 6:31b NKJV
When King Herod beheaded John the Baptist, Jesus’ disciples were discouraged. Ministry demands were so great they didn’t have time to eat. He encouraged them to spend time resting in God’s presence so they could minister effectively, speaking, “Come aside by yourselves…and rest a while” (Mark 6:31b NKJV). At this busy time, He encouraged them to rest in God’s presence. We are wise to do the same.
Friend, we are a work-in-progress. God helps us accomplish the work He has ordained for us. He can do this in full measure as we learn the discipline of waiting on Him, breathing in the peace He gives us as we wait in His presence, and moving only within the heartbeat of His Spirit.
It is part of His character.
Let’s practice leaning in, so He can shape our heart after His.
Have you need of disciplined strength?
Father God, develop within me the gift of patience, a spiritual gift You impart in the Throne-room of prayer. In Jesus Christ’s name, amen.
Copyright 2021: Disciplined Strength: Diane Virginia: All Rights Reserved
Published: March 2022: Inspire a Fire: Senior Editor Martin Wiles; Executive Editor Cindy Sproles