When I was in school, it seemed like I was much more willing to learn things. Then I became a “big boy” and had to learn the tough things you can’t learn in a textbook like money management, handling marital conflict, raising children, etc.
When it comes to spiritual growth, I sometimes want to take the lazy route. Instead of growing in the Lord and the fruit of the Spirit being a byproduct, I would much rather receive it as a pretty package from the Lord (especially patience). Don’t give me the difficulties to produce patience! Just give me the gift so I can enjoy the fruit of it.
The Apostle Paul had to learn something. As he penned the letter to the Philippian believers from a jail cell, he said that he had to learn in whatever situation he was in to be content. He did not say that it was natural or a gift that fell out of Heaven. He had to learn it through the difficulties of life.
We often talk about learning things the hard way. That is truly how we learn most things. We do not develop our spiritual muscles when everything is going great. It is developed when friends betray you, your spouse walks out on you, the checking account is negative, and nothing else seems to be going right. It is then that we develop strength and character when we draw close to the Lord.
So, what character traits do you need today? Whatever they are, you must learn them.