What line do you stand in at the grocery store? Is it the shortest, the one with the most competent looking checker and the most put together people with the fewest items? What lane do you pick in traffic? What happens when your bandwidth sucks and Spotify or Youtube buffer? These don’t readily feel like spiritual moments, but the fruit of the Spirit takes root in us during and for daily exercise.
When we pray for patience, we rarely want the Lord’s methods for building it. Even the spiritual fruit that buds early, grows and matures in God’s gracious, slow and steady timing. It may feel more spiritual to us to want our sanctification to buffer less and download faster, but it’s the same problem: the slowness is part of the Father’s tending us as branches connected to his Son, the Vine.
Jesus didn’t say it would be fast. In the parable of the soils, he said told his disciples that true fruit grows slowly: “the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8
“… we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8