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Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Don't EVER pray for Patience!!!"

   A good friend of mine said to me a few days ago... "My Momma always said, "Don't ever pray for patience.""
   Its a very true saying, one I have used a time or two as well.  For those of you who may not know, if you pray to God and ask Him to help you to be more patient, He is always faithful to answer and He will give you trials and difficulties that will be so annoying so frustrating, so that you may become more patient.  SO if you ask God to make you more patient, be prepared to get all manor of exercises in practicing patience.  The same goes for asking God to have more faith, or asking Him to make you a better person.
   Like I said, I have used this phrase myself.  But something struck me when she said it.  I got mad, in fact and I started to preach at her (witch I later asked forgiveness for).  "Boy are you right." I said.  "What ever you do, don't ask for patience."  "Because then trials come, and difficulties, and for how ever long God deems necessary He will "take you to the gym" and at the end of it you will be a stronger and more patient person!"  "And man isn't it awful when we are forced to grow, to improve and become better people than we are right now!"
       I did say I apologized.
   Why do some of us go to the Gym to work out?!  Is it because its a lot of fun?  Because of the glowing conversations we can have with the "dude" next to us on the treadmill?  We go because we want to be stronger and healthier.  Not because its pleasant or even enjoyable.

Well I am writing this post because I realized something! Are we willing to go to the Spiritual Gym?  Do we want to build our spiritual health as much as we desire to grow our physical health?  I know for me, I would much rather be comfortable... I feel more often like a spiritual child.
1 Corinthians 3:1-4
"Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?"

   I don't mean to be harsh, and I lump myself into this accusation, we all of us can be such children when it comes to growth... Any kind of growth!  This is all coming from a guy who refuses to darken the doorstep of a gym!  We don't like to exercises, because its hard, we don't study for the test, because its hard, and we don't pray for stronger faith, because that will be very, very hard!

      Testimony from someone who went to the spiritual gym...
   "I prayed to have stronger faith.  I asked God to give me the faith of an apostle, I wanted to have faith that could move mountains, cast out demons, heal the sick.  You know what happened?  A few days later I lost my job, didn't work for almost a full year.  I had to live trusting in God for every single blessed need!  And it was the hardest time of my life.  Gut wrenching trials, and wondering how things would work out.  Moments when nothing worked the way I expected but everything worked out and always at the last second God would come through in some way.  You know what else happened?  I grew a faith that has never let me down since.  I have an intimacy with God I had never had before, and I may even say could not have had, if I had not gone through that time."

   I have another friend who in prayer asked God to "Give him an unbreakable faith."  God bless him, his life is a crazy roller-coster, and he is being broken down on so many levels... but his early stage growth is something to behold!  This man is going to have faith muscles like I can't even imagine! He just may "move mountains" when its all done.

   I'm tired of being a wimp.  I'm tired of crying out to God whenever a small trial comes my way, whenever difficulties hit me.
Philippians 4:11-13
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."
   Do you see that!  How is Paul so "content whatever his circumstances!"  He was starved, stoned, ran from mobs, shipwrecked and then bit by a snake!  Anyone else would have thrown in the towel and gone home.  But who gave him the strength?  God!  Paul spent years in God's gym, working his spirit muscles into a man who was strong enough to face any trial, and its how he could endure ANYTHING including prison and martyrdom. Because his spirit was so much stronger than his flesh!  And isn't that the whole of the christians walk? To be stronger in our spirits than in our flesh?

I challenge you!  Find some portion of your spirit that you want to work on with God, and ask Him for it.  "God I want to have stronger faith."  "God give me more patience." "God help me to love my enemies." I promise you two things!
1.  God will answer, because He loves it when we invite Him into our lives.  And He LOVE's growing His children.
2.  IT WILL BE HARD!  It will cost you.  You may loose your job, have difficulties with friends or loved ones, get sick, maybe even badly sick! But our God is a loving and wonderful God, He's better than a trainer, or a coach... He's your Dad, and He will work with you, carry you, lift your weights when they are too heavy, and He will display for you and all around you just how amazing He is!  And at the end of the trial, you will look more and more like His son Jesus.

James 1:2-5
 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  

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