Some lessons the Lord is faithful to keep teaching you. You think you've made some progress on the issue... whatever it is... only to look up one day and find yourself wrestling with a different aspect of it or fighting against it in a different context. Pride is that way. Lust is that way. I could name many.
But for me, at least recently, it's been patience. One of the things modeled so well for me at CHBC was patience. I learned a lot about the necessity of patience and saw a lot of fruit produced because of the wise restraint the elders and congregation often showed, when the impulse might have been to plow ahead.
I think most people who know me would say I'm patient... or at least they think of me as patient. But I've been meditating on Edwards' fourth resolution, never to do, be, or allow anything but what tends to the glory of God. And as I have considered the things I wish to be, and not just the things I wish were thought about me, the Lord has faithfully shown me my impatient heart.
My wife has diagnosed part of the problem really well. She observes that I have things in my head, that I see quite clearly and quickly, but that I wrongly (read impatiently) assume others will see and understand as easily or clearly. She knows that tendency quite well... going back as far as my attempts to tutor her in freshman calculus at NCSU.
One challenge for me as a new pastor will be to develop the habit of mind and heart that leads with teaching, that endeavors to get an idea out of my head and into others'. Cultivating patience will mean cultivating vision, knowledge, attitudes and habits in others in quite a number of instances. That's slow work... but it's good, deep root-building work. I fully recognize that to try and lead without teaching would be disastrous. I (in the personally selfish sense of the pronoun) could arrive at some goal but the bodies of my people could very well be strewn all over the island. Better to learn patience, to be filled with the Spirit, and to grow healthily with others around me.
Resovled, to be patient and to take every prayerful opportunity to cultivate others as an expression of that patience.
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