Monday, May 20, 2013

What love is: The Fruit of the Spirit is Patience

Last night, while Billy spent time with his fellow pirate monks at Samson Society, I had the privilege of reading my children their bedtime stories.

I felt led to read from the book, The Garden Wall, by Jennie Bishop, and it was exactly what I needed to hear.  It was about a girl, Petra, who wanted to plant a garden "for her husband," and asked her friend, Seth, to build a wall around it to protect it.

The story was an allegory for marriage, according to 1 Corinthians 13.

1 Corinthians 13, defines what love does. "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things," (from verses 4-7).

By the end of the story, my eyes were welling with tears.

Because, let's face it, marriage is hard.

"Love is love only when it acts," Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Church in Southern California taught his congregation this past Sunday.

For husbands he exhorted,

"If you really love your wife, be patient with her. If you really love your wife, show kindness and tenderness to her. If you really love your wife, don't boast, just do it. If you really love your wife, you will not be harsh with her. If you really love your wife, you will always believe the best, not the worst about her. And finally, if you really love your wife, you will make it through the rough patches," he said. "Start doing all this without waiting for feelings – feelings may follow the actions."

The converse is true as well. We as wives need patience with our husbands as they seek the Lord and His strength to love us as Christ loves the church.

And, yes, there is submission there, which can be complex in a society where gender roles are blurred, but when both spouses submit to the Lord and His ways then they will submit to each other out of reverence for Him.

In my own marriage, there has been plenty of heartache and both us nearly gave up at one point, but God who is slow to anger and rich in love, gave us grace through it all, and kept bringing us back to Himself and back to each other.

Marriage is an excellent testing ground for patience. And that, my friends is where real fruit can grow!

"A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense." (Proverb's 19:11, NIV)

For a great song based on 1 Corinthians 13, click here.