S212P4 – Bad fruit: the short fuse

Gal. 5:19-23

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The metaphor of the short fuse paints a picture with which I think all of us are familiar.  The stick of dynamite with the long fuse might take quite some time to explode, allowing an opportunity to run for cover.  The stick with the short fuse is likely to surprise us and go off well before we expect.  The long fuse waits for the desired result while the short fuse just wants it done now.  This picture fits with the idea of an outburst of wrath, but the short fuse is about much more than that.  The good fruit of longsuffering is about patience and not necessarily anger.  While being deliberate and being slow to anger is part of that, impatience can reveal itself in many other damaging ways.

When I think of the short fuse, I think of a God without grace.  Imagine what it would be like if the Lord were not longsuffering but operated with a short fuse.  Beyond the wrath that He would show now for every sin we commit, we also would be left without the time we need to turn to him and change.  I can see in my own life that God was calling me for years before I woke up and started listening.  Without that long fuse, He would not have waited for me to come to him, and He would not be waiting now for me to continue learning and changing.  A short fuse would have left me lost and out of the fold, and that is something we must consider when we are interacting with others.

I have let myself have a short fuse and  discount others who did not operate in my timing.  I have decided to stop waiting for some to grow and change, and instead I have walked away.  I am sure that others also have stopped waiting for me.  This is not necessarily a display of anger, but it certainly is a display of impatience.  Having a short fuse can keep us from investing the time to develop meaningful relationships, to participate productively in ministry, or to walk with others in discipleship.  We want to have a long fuse like the Lord, understanding when matters are worth the work and the wait.  Father, keep us from the impatience which robs us of opportunities to grow with You and with others.