Shake A Leg :: by Grant Phillips

Impatience has overtaken modern man like Kudzu does a forest. We are always in a hurry. We’re like a humming bird rapidly darting from one spot to the next, hesitant to remain in one place very long.

The Spirit of the Lord told the Apostle Paul to write these words,

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

The word “study” means to be diligent, or to exert one’s self. Here lies the object of stumbling for many Christians. To study takes much effort, but most today want to be spoon fed with the Readers Digest version. Most Christians are simply lazy.

The one place that quickly comes to mind where people will sit for hours at a time is in front of the television. The reasons are obvious. We want others to do all the work and provide us information and/or entertainment by video. It is much easier to watch and listen to something than it is to read about it and study its content. In addition we always get the short version on television in relation to the subject matter we are watching.

We look at those who excel in sports and think they are an over-night success, but do we realize the years of hard work they applied to their “success?” Those who have excelled in music have had to spend a lifetime practicing, before they could be considered a virtuoso.

Would it be wise to send untrained soldiers out to battle? Obviously not, but every Christian is in a spiritual battle and needs to take the time to be properly trained. The Apostle Paul said to the Ephesians,

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Is it possible that most Christians are unprepared for their spiritual battles? The armor is not in place and we have no idea how to use the weapons that God has provided for us. Therefore Satan mows us over like new grass under a high powered lawn mower. We need to,

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)

Until we slow down, and abandon our quick-fix attitude, we will continue to plod along in ignorant bliss.

Most of us, in one area or another, are impatient about something. We have been conditioned with that attitude due to the fast-paced world we live in. Allow me to share some of my frailties and see if you can identify with me:

I’m a microwave guy (referring to speed), and sometimes that’s too slow. My wife prefers to cook and she is a great cook, but she may have to run me out of the kitchen because I’m too impatient. “Is it ready yet?” “No dear. Go sit in the living room, and it will be ready soon.”

When going somewhere, I can’t stand being late. Even being on time is a drag. I would rather be early. The Lord, in His omnipotent wisdom, gave me a woman in marriage to teach me to be patient when going somewhere. In earlier years, I felt my insides would explode, having to wait for the Mrs., but as the years have passed, I have learned to not be so “antsy.”

I used to be very impatient driving behind those old grandpas who would drive slower than I walk. Now I am one. Enough said.

I’m still impatient at times, but nothing like I was in my earlier years. But get this, even when I was younger, I could sit for hours on end and read, and I loved to study, especially the Bible. Perhaps our “shake-a-leg” attitude has something to do with our priorities. Understand this also; my preference in reading and studying God’s Word certainly does not indicate that I was some spiritual giant. To the contrary, I think I needed more guidance than others in order to stay out of spiritual trouble.

So what is the point of this article?  The ground work is laid in the book of Isaiah.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

For some reason, this verse reminds me of going on a trip when the children were little and one of them saying after we exit the driveway, “Are we there yet?”

We pray and want answers now … right now actually. We have problems and want God to solve them immediately. We don’t know what to do with our life and are impatient when the Lord doesn’t quickly tell us what direction to take. We need a job now, and God isn’t making it happen. Our Father wants us to wait on Him.

How many have found themselves in a bad marriage because they would not wait upon the Lord to bring the right one along? Maybe they married in spite of what the Bible says about being unequally yoked, and now they’re paying for it. Others have found themselves single, pregnant and penniless because they listened to a slick tongued Romeo instead of listening to God.

When it comes to a house and other possessions and amenities for the family, the young couples today want to start at the same place it took their parents 40 years to arrive at. No wonder they’re choking on debt.

I’ve noticed in hiring employees over the years that the young ones usually want to start at the top and work their way up in the company. There usually isn’t much thought given to starting at the bottom and “paying your dues.”

The number one issue that concerns us with our electronic toys (computers, cell phones, etc.) is “speed.”  We want to download larger and larger files faster and faster. We want to connect to friends faster and faster. We want to put more and more information in smaller and smaller areas and continually increase our speed of operation. Our world is all about “speed.”

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4)

That verse certainly describes our generation, for few have learned to wait upon the Lord.

Look, I doubt there are any of us who has not gotten the “cart before the horse” at one time or another because we just could not wait upon God. I know I have. If you say that you’re never impatient, maybe you need to read 1 John 1:9.

It’s probably harder for us to slow down in our fast-paced world than any other generation, but the reward is there for those who do. It isn’t always easy, waiting on God to take action in our life. He never said it would be. He simply said that those who wait on Him will grow stronger. Would it not be a wonderful attribute of our Christian life, to be able to relax and grow stronger in the Lord?

Frozen dinners may be your cup of tea, but made from scratch meals are mine. They may take longer, but they’re worth it, especially when the chef knows what he is doing. God knows how to take the recipe of our life and mix it in such a manner that will bring Him glory and strengthen us. We are not assembly line products. We are made in the image of God, and require the element of time to shape us into what He wants us to be. He knows just when to turn the heat on, and at what level. He knows when to mix the added ingredients. He knows which ingredients to use, and He knows when to turn the heat off.

We are like a child in the park who wants to run way ahead of its parents. If we could just slow down and follow the Lord instead of trying to lead Him (which isn’t going to work), just think how much smoother our life could be.

Grant Phillips