How can you tell if you are living a patient life?
My Mom should be saint! She was so patient with me! I was far from being an easy child to raise. Always asking a million and one questions about How? and Why? The odd What if? questions alone must have kept her up at night.
I was sassy and I always longed for solitude when she wanted me to be more social. And when Daddy and I got together? Watch out, World!
Dad and I shared a wacky humor and the world's strangest game: Verbal War. One zinger after another. Back and forth. All in fun, but Mom never understood. It wasn't prim and proper, and - for her - it must have seemed grossly disrespectful to him. But she would let us play, and I never got into trouble for it.
God expects US to have THIS level of patience with people, too.
Put on pieces of a Patient Life
Col. 3:12 says, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Wow! That's some checklist! Let's take a couple of minutes and look deeper at this.
Clothe Yourselves - Get dressed, folks.
- Identity- I love how Paul started out here with a reminder of who we really are. So to be successful in this Christian walk, we must be ever-confident in who we are and Whose we are. ( A.) CHOSEN: As God's Chosen People... This list isn't for just anybody. It's for us. As believers, we have been chosen by God and given His Holy Spirit to grow within us these 9 fruit. (B.) HOLY: I'd be the first one to tell you, that I sure don't feel holy -- EVER. Luckily my state of holiness has absolutely nothing to do with my feelings and everything to do with Jesus' blood. (C.) DEARLY LOVED: Don't ever forget how much God loves you. --As far as the East is from the West -- enough to allow His only Son become sin for you and me.
- Compassion- Now that we've established who we are, it's time that we get down to business. Once we have put on our true identity, we must clothes ourselves in the essentials to do the work of Christ. The first article we need to don is Compassion. What's that? It's our ability to feel for another living being. It is accompanied by the desire for us to help alleviate their suffering. This is the opposite of indifference or cruelty. It means we must think about what someone else is going through. In a world of Coronavirus, this becomes essential!
- Kindness- What does it mean to be Kind? As another Fruit of the Spirit, we will explore Kindness in-depth next month, but a definition is: [of a good or benevolent nature or disposition; indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane; mild; gentle.] (Antonyms include: unfeeling, unfriendly and harsh.) Of course, as God's chosen people, we must wrap ourselves in this kindness. We are the only Bible some people will ever read. Let's make a good impression.
- Humility- Humility is [the modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance or rank.] (Antonyms include arrogance, ego and pretentiousness) We need to be full of love - not hot air. Our focus must be on others and not on ourselves.
- Gentleness- Yet another Fruit of the Spirit that God want the Holy Spirit to grown in us is Gentleness. The short answer today is that we are to act in a mild manner - not rough or severe. It is an intentional behavior of tenderness that avoids cruelty or punishment or vengeance.
Wait just a second...
We started with Col. 3:12, and I told you a patient life needs 5 accessories . But I never got to patience itself. How is that, when it's clearly on the list?
As I studied this verse and the definitions of each "article of clothing" we're told to wear, it seemed apparent to me that patience was last on the list for a reason. [Writing teacher alert: When making a list, put the most important thing last] I think, if we accept our identity in Christ and put on compassion, kindness, humility and gentleness, we CAN'T HELP BUT BE more patient with others.
Father God, remind us daily of our identity in You. Help us to wrap ourselves in Compassion, Kindness, Humility and Gentleness so that Your Patience flows out of us into a world that needs You so very much.
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