40 Days of Change
Expectations and Patience
1 Corinthians 13:4-8b (KJV) “Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; charity (love) vaunteth (boasts) not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity (love) never faileth”
Psalm 62:5 (KJV) “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.”
What small tangible and measurable ways would you expect to see changed in your marriage that would indicate that progress was being made? List three.
Example: (1) I would give my husband [wife] daily praise for the things he [she] has done.
What previous expectations for your husband [wife] are you willing to release to God? List three.
Example:(1) My husband [wife] focuses on me without distraction.
Take note that just as you have preconceived expectations with your spouse, you also have them for your relationship with God. One area that many struggle with in this regard is in unanswered prayers. We expect that God is required to answer all of our prayers based on verses such as the following:
John 16:24 (KJV) “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Matthew 21:22 (KJV) “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
However, we neglect other versus such as the following:
James 4:3 (KJV) “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
Now, with this understanding, follow the above exercise in the perspective of your relationship with God. List three signs of tangible change and three expectations you are willing to set aside in order to accept God’s will, whatever it may be.
Proverbs 14:29 (KJV) “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”
The two pillars that uphold love in all things are founded in “patience” and “kindness”. Other attributes of love are merely extensions of these two qualities. These pillars hold love up like a banner, providing a cover for all who take refuge under its shade.
Songs 2:4 (KJV) “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.”
1 Peter 4:8-9 (KJV) “Above all things have fervent (without ceasing) charity (love) among yourselves (each other): for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality (generosity) one to another without grudging.”
Patience can stop and redirect wrongs in the path of love. When you first fall in love, you tend to show much more patience with your loved one than you might years later. What is the difference? The difference is that in the beginning of a relationship, everything is fresh and new. Your expectations are heightened by a dream of preconceived notions you have in the hope of love with a “happily ever-after” life. Once you have been in a relationship with an individual, over time, chances are they have not met at least some of those expectations, and you may become disillusioned and disappointed, whereby creating a resentment list in the back of your mind. These resentments, whether small or great, cause you to become less and less patient with them. Eventually, if these issues are not handled, then one small thing may set off a chain reaction of negative activity.
Just as you follow a pattern in your marital relationships, you also follow a similar pattern in your relationship / walk with the Lord. At times, we may forget that our walk with the Lord is a real, living relationship, susceptible to all the same pitfalls of our imperfections and preconceived expectations. When our expectations are not met, as described above in regard to answered prayers…we may tend to build up resentments toward God Himself. We may disguise these resentments in ways to help us not feel guilty about feeling this way toward God, but they may still be there…under the surface. Just as resentment can cause havoc in our human relationships, the same is true in our heavenly relationship.
I have written a post in regard to how our human relationships are merely examples and training grounds for our relationship with the Lord, found here.
Do you find that when you are treated in a negative way, that you react in accordance to the spirit against you? If you feel hurt, is your initial reaction to lash out or retaliate in some way? If so, then patience is an attribute to focus on. A lack of patience is a visible sign that there is built up pain from somewhere or someone. Truly, the only one who can fully heal that pain, is the Lord. However, what if the pain you are feeling is a result of how you perceive something the Lord has done, or not done? Where are you to go from there?
The answer is that you go to God and His Word.
Mark 9:23-24 (KJV) “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Romans 10:17 (KJV) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
List three recent times when you have lost your patience with your spouse, and what you could have done to change the outcome.
Example: (1) You asked your spouse to do something repeatedly and it never got done, so you reacted by bringing up past mistakes, yelling at them, retaliating against something they value, etc.
Now, follow the same exercise in the perspective of your relationship with the Lord.
Example: (1) Something negative occurred perhaps at a church, an organization, with a family member or friend, etc. and you reacted by cursing God or refusing to pray, etc.
Proverbs 15:18 (KJV) “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”
From this point forward, attempt to approach your marital relationship, as well as your spiritual relationship with the guidance of the following verse in mind :
1Thessalonians 5:15 (KJV) “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (including God)
This will be a struggle, as our flesh is corrupted by the nature of sin and rebels against pure sacrificial love in action. This will be a fight in your thoughts, emotions, faith, and actions. Remember that this life is a battlefield, which is why we must equip ourselves with the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18 ) because our advisory is destined to make attempts for our destruction. The enemy goes after the weakest links in our chain. He uses those closest to us, to destroy us. With this in mind, you must guard yourselves and those around you, through prayer and perseverance, in order to overcome the tests and trials you are guaranteed to face.
The nature of this world is to prevent any from conforming to Christ, as that is direct adversity to the enemy. When you make an effort to move in the direction of Christ, you will be met with equal resistance. The same is true of any positive changes.
Though this be the case, know that you are called to overcome the world and the ruler of this world. It is through Christ and His Word (which He is John 1:14), that you are fully equipped for this task. All you must do is commit to it, despite any pain, fear, rejection, or opposition of any kind. Set your face like flint, your feet forward, and push through, one step at a time. At times you may barely take a baby step, while at others, you may run free as the wind. No matter which you find yourself – at the moment, continue on and you will make progress.
Make it your goal from this day forward to stay positive. No matter what may come, from your spouse or any other part of your life, resolve to respond in a positive way. If you are unable to do so, remain in silence and pray for patience. During prayer, focus on thanking the Lord for the good things in your life. You may feel there is only one good thing, thank Him for it. If you feel there are no good things in your life, thank the Lord that you have been given this time to make changes, and for what the Lord will do through this commitment you are making now.
At the end of the day, ponder over everything that occurred. Write down the times you faced that tested this new resolve you have committed to. Write down how you chose to react to those tests. Looking back, is there anything you would like to do differently, if so, what/how? Write this down.
Philippians 4:13 (KJV) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Pray to the Lord to increase you in the following :
James 1:19 (KJV) “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”
Psalm 5:2-3 (KJV) “Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto Thee will I pray. My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, oh Lord; in the mourning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up”
Proverbs 16:3 (KJV) “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established”
Hebrews 10:24 (KJV) “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”
Ephesians 4:2 (KJV) “With all lowliness (humility) and meekness (gentleness), with longsuffering (patience), forbearing (upholding, sustaining, enduring) one another in love”
**Day 2: Introspection and Kindness**