I don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems that spiritual progress in my life is ‘three steps forward and two steps back’. Just as I seem to be on a roll and getting the hang of doing things right, then I do or say something totally out of line with God’s will. It is usually my flesh (human nature without God’s control) speaking or acting without checking it out with the Holy Spirit first. You know, when it just bursts out of you and then there is no taking it back!
Being a perfectionist has its benefits and disadvantages. The benefit is that I strive to do my best in all situations, including spiritually. The disadvantage is that, when I mess up, I am frustrated and disappointed in myself.
That is when I need to be reminded that one of the fruits of the Spirit (the result of God’s presence in me) is patience. This means that God is patient with us and forgives us repeatedly. We are like toddlers who fall, cry, and then get up again. Parents are not discouraged when their toddlers fall, because they know that development is a process, and, as long as progress is being made, they are happy.
In the same way, I need to remember that God is my Daddy and He knows that I will fall and fail along the way, but, as long as I am making progress, He is happy. He knows that I am only human. As long as I am sincerely trying, from my heart, He is patient with me. ‘There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). God does not condemn us, as long as we are genuinely sorry for our wrongdoings and ask His forgiveness.
What we need to learn is to be patient with ourselves. Often, we do not want to face the pain of failure and tend to become discouraged. However, we need steadfast patience to get up again and keep going. The word ‘steadfast’ means ‘resolutely firm and unwavering’. This implies a determination to continue without weakening.
So, when we blow it, we can ‘cry’ for a few minutes, like a toddler, and then we need to dust ourselves off, get up and try again. Just as all toddlers eventually learn to walk, so will we gradually learn to walk more and more steadfastly with the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Thank You, Father God, for Your patience with us. Help us, Holy Spirit, to be patient with ourselves and with others as we work with You to become mature children of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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