Does Patience Grow on Trees? Biblical Garden of Love Part 1A
What’s your ideal garden? Close your eyes and allow your mind to wander, to dream, to create. Where is your garden? What do you smell? What do you taste and feel? What do you see and hear?
Wouldn’t it be lovely if every morning was another day in the Garden of Eden?
Most of us probably didn’t have a first night that was perfect. I certainly didn’t. My first night was not so perfect or blissful since both Adam and I were incredibly tired. We spent the night in our own rundown apartment in a not-so-great part of town with obnoxious orange streetlight seeping through our cheap Walmart blinds on an air mattress that had collapsed by morning. Even so, our honeymoon was pretty special, and we shared some wonderful moments.
But bliss will not last forever, and that trouble in paradise is inevitable. Life won’t be peachy and things won’t always be perfection in the garden of love. In fact, Biblical truths, principles, and love will not always reign supreme.
Where is the Love?
Patience is one of the most important flowers in the Biblical Garden of Love. I believe this is why Paul mentions “Love is patient” first in 1 Corinthians 13. Without patience, love withers.
Think of it this way.
Your husband comes home late and he forgot to call. You impatiently went ahead to eat and deliberately didn’t save him dinner. Where is the love?
You ask your husband to take out the trash while he’s playing a computer game. Five minutes later, he still hasn’t made it to the kitchen. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. You snap and take out the trash yourself, muttering under your breath about your lazy, incompetent husband. Where is the love?
You are feeling sexy tonight and want to “celebrate” your love with your husband. But he comes home after work, exhausted after a long day and wants to crash in front of the television. He asks you to wait, and you impatiently flip out and remind him that you don’t feel like this every day and it might not happen again for awhile. Where is the love?
What is the root issue? By being impatient, you are disrespecting your husband. Great! So let’s be more respectful! It’s not that simple, and patience doesn’t just grow on trees, especially when nothing is going your way and your husband disappoints you. How can we practically be patient wives?
I’m So Unworthy, but Still You Love Me
1. We must understand our condition.
By ourselves, we are not worthy. We can’t be better. We can’t do better. We can’t just wake up tomorrow and say, “I’m going to be patient today” and succeed because it is not in our nature. But take hope! We have been made worthy through our Lord Jesus Christ and the grace of God. Read Colossians 1:9-13
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
We can’t do it on our own. God fills us with the knowledge of His will. How do we know His will? By exploring Scripture and seeking God in prayer. Ephesians 4:2 says, “be completely humble and gentle…patient…bearing with one another in love.”) God also equips us with the Spirit, who reveals wisdom and understanding to us, so we may live a worthy life before the Lord. Patience is part of this worthy life – Proverbs 14:29 begins, “Whoever has patience has great understanding…”
2. We must understand what we do now that we’re equipped.
We bear fruit in our good works, one fruit of the Spirit being patience, and grow in the knowledge of God. So now we’re strengthened by our own power? Nope! Colossians 1:11 says we are equipped with “All power according to His (God’s) glorious might!” Being equipped by God’s power, we are equipped to have great endurance and patience. Not just a little. I’m talking a whole great garden of the flowers of patience.
3. We must give thanks to God because of our salvation and inheritance.
We give “joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” Think of it this way. We’ve been pre-approved at the bank of heavenly grace by the King who banked it all on His own Son; we’ve been brought into the race as a winner by the all-righteous Judge, qualifying us for something even more wonderful than owning our own home, being married to the man of our dreams, or winning the grand prize.
We’ve been brought into the kingdom of light and are co-heirs with Christ, the Son of God, and our inheritance is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise (Romans 8:17; Ephesians 1:13-14). God rescued us from “the dominion of darkness,” the bleakness and helplessness of the state of our soul, from the grasps of the Devil and his dominion, from the chains of our own sin, our own horrific mistakes, and He brought us into the kingdom of Christ, through whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of our sins.
4. We can live as a redeemed Eve, a patient woman and wife.
Sure, we will fall back and fail and screw up and be impatient, but as evidence of growing in the Lord, we will bear the fruit of patience. We are so unworthy, but God, in His grace and mercy, still loves us. See, it’s not anything we do. It’s all God. It has to be. Alone, we will fail. Alone, we are miserable. Alone, we still live in the dominion of darkness. But through God’s beautiful redemptive work on the cross, we have an eternal inheritance. We have been made holy, right, and worthy before God.
5. We are chosen, forgiven, and dearly loved.
Why is patience so essential in a marriage? Because God calls us to be patient, especially with our husbands. Colossians 3:18 says, “Wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.” What is one way we can submit? By being patient. Back up to verses 12-14 of Colossians 3.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
You cannot be perfectly unified if you are impatient. You cannot truly love your husband if you’re impatient. You cannot forgive your husband if you are impatient and holding a grievance against him. Without love, you have nothing and you are nothing as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 1. Remember, you are one of God’s chosen people – you’ve been made holy, and you are dearly loved and He has forgiven you, wiped your slate clean, made you pure before Him, a new creation, a newly redeemed Eve!
As a result of this fantastic love of God and His entire redemptive work completed in your life, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, and gentleness. Daily humble yourself before the Lord, remembering His eternal gift of salvation and the inheritance you’ve been given in His kingdom, and ask God to plant patience in your heart. Practice patience in your marriage garden bed not because you’re trying to look good or do better, but as a genuine fruit result of the Holy Spirit actively working in your life.
See the introduction posts to this series – The Biblical Garden of Love