There’s an old saying when someone does something before they should or makes a judgement on a situation before they have all the facts. The saying is “jumping the gun”. It officially means to start something before it is permissible, appropriate, or advisable and alludes to starting to run in a foot race before the starting gun goes off. When that happens to a runner it’s embarrassing, causes the runner to be disqualified, and makes everyone start over again. One single instance of “jumping the gun” causes a whole domino effect. If we look at it in real life, we will realize that when we jump the gun on anything the results are exactly the same and the root cause of jumping the gun is impatience.

I heard an interesting radio spot recently about raising children who are “pleasers”. We have all known one, had one, or been one. Those people who attach their performance with the love and acceptance of those around them. I have been in my past a people pleaser. I say in my past because that is where I’m trying to leave it. But when we have a child like this in our sphere, we need to be very careful to let them know that our love is unconditional and is not performance dependent. We guide them and help them, correct them, cheer them on & grieve with them when things don’t work out, but everything we do must be done in patience and they need to know that our love is theirs no matter their performance, outcomes, or actions. As a matter of fact, patience needs to be the foundation before we respond to any person or situation and certainly before we make a judgement about a situation. I can imagine what you are thinking- “Patience? Ain’t no one got time for that. I’ve got kids to raise, a business to run, all the stuff to do…. I have to keep all the balls in the air and control all the situations.” I will warn you now-patience takes self-control. Sounds amazingly like another Fruit of the Spirit. Hmmm…

Recently I have been running all my potential responses to people and situations through a “sifter” of sorts. Before I respond to a person or event or post on social media, I ask myself-Is it good? Is it right? Is it true? Is it worth it? Not only does this help filter out how I should respond and if I should respond but it helps me take a minute.

Jesus was ever patient and ever kind. Don’t we owe each other the same grace? Instead of jumping the gun next time I’m feeling impatient, I’m going to look over, see who is in the next lane and realize we are all running the race. There’s no need to get ahead or feel left behind. We are all on the journey. Some will be faster, some will be slower, there will be a lot of stops and starts and we will have never ending opportunities to practice patience.

I’ve always wondered why patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Now I think I know. Let me ask you this, if our fellow race runners don’t see and feel the effect of our love, acceptance, and patience, how will they ever comprehend the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus? Just asking. It’s ok. You can take a minute.

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”-Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) (Emphasis mine)

Author: Lisa