We’ve all seen the movies of the children in the backseat of a car, on a long car trip, buggering their parents with the “Are We There Yet?” dilemma. Well, my kids have taken it up a notch, as soon as we pull out of the driveway, my daughter will inevitably say, “Are We There Yet?” Really? I can still see our house and you think we should be THERE already?!! Aren’t we all a little like that? A problem is no big deal until it looks like there is no end in sight.
We, as a church body, take 21 days in the beginning of the year to focus our hearts on God. We do this in various ways, through increased prayer and meditation, focused Bible reading and fasting. Our fasting is not cutting out all food, but a mainly vegan diet with a few more restrictions. Here are the ground rules: 1. No meat 2. No dairy. 3. No sugar. 4. No white flour or white rice. 5. Nothing artificial. 6. No caffeine or addictive substances. (including alcohol & tobacco) But, not to leave this on a negative…you CAN have any FRUIT or VEGETABLE you want! 🙂
Yep, this is a challenge. But, the challenge just isn’t the restrictions, because once you learn to cook like this, you realize there is still much to eat. The real challenge is the LONGEVITY. 21 days or three weeks is a LOOONG time to do without any sugar, coffee, caffeine and most importantly…COOKIES! It brings to mind the scripture, Galatians 6:22 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Obviously, self-control is cultivated throughout this fast. But, the fruit that is really lacking in most of our lives, is longsuffering. This word is not used much in our English language, but it means “patient endurance”.
Do you know the flowers called the “impatiens”? They are so called because they seem to be rather impatient. Once the seed pod matures, it explodes (and sends it seeds flying) when touched. Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? We can get so explosive about the most ridiculous things. Or I should say, I get explosive about the most ridiculous things…clothes on the floor, toilet not flushed, dishes that can’t make it to the sink or shoes that can’t make it to the closet. Why am I surrounded by such lazy articles of clothing!! 🙂
There is another Greek word that is also translated into the English as longsuffering, it is the Greek word makrothumia. Makro means “large” or “long.” The root word thumos means “temper.” Therefore makrothumia literally means long-tempered, the opposite of short-tempered or having a short fuse. Have you ever heard anyone called long-tempered? “Oh, he is so long-tempered!!” Ummm, no, I haven’t either. Maybe because it is so rare? Sadly, we hear the word short-tempered all the time.
Longsuffering is the fourth fruit of the spirit, but LOVE is the FIRST. Well, if it is first, it must be the best. I am not dissing on love, but, when we neglect the other fruits, thinking they really aren’t important enough to cultivate in our lives, it just makes LOVE harder to attain…Here is an example of how, if we worked on some of the other fruits, the love would be more attainable.
When you go to the gym, what do you work on? Noticeable muscles like our ABS and the GLUTEUS MAXIMUS. But, what about our back muscles? We neglect them, they can fend for themselves! I just want my stomach to lie flat! Back muscle exercises?? Why? I can’t even see my back, so it doesn’t exist! Well, if we worked on our back muscles, our posture would improve and our stomach would actually lie flatt-ER. It works the same way with the fruit of the spirit. If we were LONG-TEMPERED or LONG SUFFERING, wouldn’t LOVE be easier to for us to feel (instead of impatience) and be easier to see in us?
So, during this fast, I know it is long…we are at the half-way point right now. And, I could really, really, REALLY go for a piece of the home made bread I made my kids yesterday (am I trying to torture myself??!!). But, we are working out a spiritual fruit in our lives, that we can’t learn from our microwave society. And that is why I am glad, even though the first rush of excitement has died down, that we still have a long way to go. Now is when the patient endurance kicks in…so, “Are We There Yet?”
With love, Kristen
SIGN UP TODAY for the MINI-MARRIAGE CHALLENGE
Register for a FREE 5-Day Mini-Marriage Workshop. It's packed full of great lessons, encouragement, activities and printables to give you a happy marriage!