While you wait

We wait. Sometimes it seems like half of our lives are spent waiting. We wait at red lights and stop signs. We wait in line at the grocery store. We wait for a meeting to start. We wait for the workday to be over. We even wait to fall asleep so that we can start it all over again and wait some more.

So what do you do while you’re doing all of this waiting? Do you stare of into spacing hoping time will somehow move faster? Do you pull out your phone and check work emails or see what your friends are up to on Instagram? Do you have a book to read or a magazine? Or you you stand tapping your toes in impatience?

Some of us don’t mind the wait. We have something to occupy our time. Others of us can’t stand the wait and hate idle time.

As members of the church, we’re all waiting for something—Jesus’ return. And, while we wait, we can be be idle or we can use the time as an opportunity.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.

2 Peter 3:10 (NLT)

God isn’t meandering along His way trying to give us a lesson in patience. He is waiting for us to get our work done.

And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to live a pure and blameless life. And be at peace with God.

2 Peter 3:14 (NLT)

We’ve got some time and we’ve got a commission. We can either wait around hoping someone else does it, or we can get to work gathering as many into the family of God as possible.

What are you waiting for?

Daily Bible reading: Ezekiel 45-46, 2 Peter 3

Stay free

It would seem that the Galatian church struggled—as many churches still do—with the concept of freedom, how it works and how it is to be applied to our lives. Being free from the law—receiving salvation as a gift rather than earning it through works—is a difficult concept to grasp. And, no matter how much revelation some people get, there always seem to be those who want to find a set of chains and shackle the Church back to the law.

So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

How do I know when I’m getting tied up again? The answer is quite simple and you probably know it already.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

If you are being led in a direction that produces anything but these things, you’re being led back into the bondage of the law. The Holy Spirit will never lead you into anything that is based on works and produces selfish results. He will only lead you into things that produce good fruit with selfless results.

For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:13-14 (NLT)

So if you’re questioning where you’re being led, ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • Is this solely for my benefit or will others benefit from it?
  • Will this result in producing the fruit of the Spirit?
  • Does this reflect love for my neighbour? How so?
  • Am I serving myself or am I serving others?

In the end, our freedom is all about serving one another. If you’re not serving your neighbour—whether you like them or not—you’re not really free. There are no qualifiers on the love we are commanded to give. It’s not always easy and that’s why we need the Holy Spirit to guide us. If we are truly free and have nailed our own passions and desires to the cross (Galatians 5:24), we live by the Holy Spirit and must follow his guidance in every part of our lives.

Love your neighbour. Stay free.

Daily Bible reading: Isaiah 10-12, Galatians 5

Glorified

We hear often in the church that we must bear good fruit. If you were raised in the church, you know the songs that go along with Galatians 5:22-23. You know what the Fruit of the Spirit are (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). But do you know what they’re for?

Sure, being loving and kind makes us look good as Christians. It may even help draw people into our churches, but is that the only reason we’ve been commanded to display these traits?

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

John 15:8 (ESV)

If we do everything as unto the Lord according to Colossians 3:23, God gets the glory. That’s the point of all of it. God gets glory, people see that we are His followers, and those same people are attracted by our traits that reflect God.

By your words and actions, the people you associate with can see who you’ve been spending time with. You reflect their traits and, in a way, bring glory to them because you’ve deemed them important enough to emulate. Do we do the same with God? Do the people around us know that we’ve been spending time in the presence of God by the traits we reflect? Is God glorified by our behaviour?

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 17-19; John 15

Wait.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: To the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day. The Lord is not slow in doing what he promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives.

II Peter 3:8-9

How often do I allow my impatience to rule me? I expect so much from God, but I expect it all on my own schedule. I say, “God is late” or “God didn’t come through for me” when, in reality, He is far more patient with me than I am with Him.

I have often heard the saying, “God’s time is best.” Yet, how often do I actually take the time to meditate on this? Do I really believe that God’s time is the best? If so, why am I still so impatient?

What might I be missing in my search for God’s answers? What lessons does He want me to learn in the waiting time? How does he want to prepare me  for when the answer does come?

Perhaps the waiting times are just as important as – if not more important than – the receiving times.