difficult circumstances, full of joy, God's capacity, I John 4:17, inner strength, John 15, longsuffering, Nehemiah 8:10, patience, portrait of Christ, spiritual inner core
We are continuing to examine the top ten indicators that signify if we are growing in the Lord. So far we have examined our change of appetites, gaining a disgust for shameful activities, love for the believer, and possessing peace. Now we are going to examine two additional traits of a growing believer.
5. Possessing Strange Patience! Do you remember when crazy drivers, unloving people, and ungodly conditions found in the world upset you? Sorry, maybe there is still some work to do here. Patience appears strange to many because it is rare to see it at work in people’s lives. Patience is a virtue and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Those growing in the Lord will possess this virtue because the Lord uses it in a mighty way for Kingdom advancement.
When we are patient and longsuffering like the Lord, we are able to minister to people who are currently displeasing to God. Like the Lord, we are able to love the unloving. Patience gives us “God’s Capacity” for people to meet people’s needs in the worst of circumstances. This explains how believers can serve the Lord in homeless shelters, jails/prisons, and in other mission centers in the roughest of neighborhoods. Is your patience growing or shrinking? Allow the Lord to increase your capacity for Kingdom work.
6. Full of Joy! Jesus said, “This is my commandment that you love one another, that your joy may be full.” (John 15 ) Many people (both believers and non-believers) have created an overbearing portrait of Jesus. They view Him as a stern, grave, and serious figure. Yet every picture the Bible gives us of the Lord is one of joy, laughter, and contentment. For the growing believer, it is imperative to possess the correct picture of the Lord. Why? Because, “As He is, so are we in this world.” (I John 4:17)
Finding joy and possessing joy on a daily basis gives us the inner strength we need. “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 ) Our inner strength doesn’t come from ourselves. Real inner confidence comes from knowing the Lord and receiving constant revelation from heaven. When we start looking to the Lord and worshiping Him in all circumstances…”the joy of the Lord becomes our strength.” How about you? Is your spiritual inner core stronger today than last year?