Quite possibly the greatest lesson in the Bible about patience and endurance (both makrothymia) or lack thereof, is the one of Abraham and Sarah. The Lord comes to Abraham and promises that he will be the father of literally millions (Gen 15:5) and yet for years and years Abraham remained childless. He began to doubt God’s faithfulness in His promises. So, he and Sarah decided impatiently to take matters into their own hands and create a child of Abraham through a slave girl. That child, Ishmael, became the thorn in the Israelites’ side until this very day. And even though they tried to circumvent God, God still came through on His promise with the birth of their own son even after Sarah was determined to be post-child birthing age.
They had hoped. They had endured. Until they didn’t. Abraham and Sarah created their own timeline based on their inaccurate belief in the limited power of God.
When was the last time you said, “It’s too late. It’ll never happen.”? Although what you have prayed for might not come to fruition as you have asked, God is still working with you in the situation. Sometimes it seems you’ve been listening and waiting patiently yet at every turn you feel thwarted, abused, attacked, broken. It’s time like these that our faith is tested. You are not alone. Each one of the apostles, men who had spent hours, days, years in the very presence of God would have to then learn to keep trusting, keep enduring.
He is lining up your circumstances in a way that is better than you could ever imagine. When you wait for the Lord, you should look forward to what He will do with joyful expectation and confident hope, because He is providing the very best for you.”
Charles Stanley, 30 Life Principles
He wants the very best fruit to come out of you. Not just a red apple, but the juiciest red apple you’ve ever tasted. He wants trees rooted deeply in Him, watered richly by Him and grown in His beautiful light. It means in those times of trials, long suffering (also makrothymia) we don’t let go. We don’t try and go it alone.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-2
Our hope can endure because we know He is a God who gives generously (James 1:5). He will provide in our darkest times; we need only look for Him in the circumstance. We patiently wait for our hope to bloom into something bigger and more beautiful which may be when we finally are home in heaven.
Notice that we take action while waiting? Patiently is an adverb. It describes an activity. While we endure through our trial we pray, we seek His love, we experience His joy and peace. We watch for ways He is using us to help others.
The key to patience is faith in the all-embracing, all-guiding, all-wise, all-gracious providence of God to transform all the interruptions of his children into rewards. Can we not, then, write in big letters, as a heading over our lives and over every frustration, “Satan, you meant that for evil; God meant it for good” (Gen 5:2)?
Friends, we are all waiting. Waiting for small things and very large things. We are waiting for the disappearance of pain and the appearance of our hopes come alive. At times, we say we wait to feel complete or more alive. And God is saying be patiently waiting, watching, learning, trusting. He is doing great things in you.
Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10-11
There must not be many other words in human language that can evoke as much negative response as the word “wait.” For what? How long? Why? No one likes to wait it seems. We don’t want to wait in line, wait for the doctor, wait for the test results, wait for the phone call and so much more. We’ve created online shopping so we don’t have to wait to go searching around town for what we need. We have fast food so we don’t have to wait to cook a homemade meal. And although modern conveniences can help us to accomplish other, more important tasks, there are plenty of things worth waiting for. The birth of child, a harvest, the right spouse, freshly baked bread are but a few!
There are, however, clear times that, if we want to blossom as Christians, we need to not only wait but wait patiently, not allowing our fleshly desires to supersede God’s omniscience. To marry or not, to have children, take that job, move to another home, how to deal with difficult people or situations, medical decisions – all these potentially life-altering choices should be sought patiently in wisdom with the Lord. I have heard from too many Christians about failed marriages because they were too impatient to wait for the right person.
“Do not run ahead of God! The delays may be very challenging for you, but they are growing your faith in Him. Look to Him, strengthen yourself in His Word and love, remain confident that He is working on your behalf.”
Charles Stanley, 30 Life Principles
So ok, we get it. We need to wait on God’s wisdom. But the waiting isn’t the fruit. The waiting is the fertilizer, the opportunity for the fruit, which is patience in that waiting.
My friends and family know I have not typically been a patient person. I’m a doer. I make decisions and get things done. I hate waiting around for other people. Until one day it hit me. What does my impatientness (another word I made up) look like to the world? If I were to ask you the characteristics of an impatient person, you’d probably say someone who looks angry, frustrated, annoyed, maybe even beligerent. To the world it looks like someone lacking in the other fruits — love, joy and peace.
My getting frustrated in waiting was fruit killing. The killer spray I was using on my fruit was my pride. I knew better how to make things happen faster, more efficient, more productive. I knew better than almost anyone I encountered, especially God. And the world says, “Why should I be a Christian if I still look like that?”
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. Titus 1:16
Yikes! Talk about a conviction. True patience isn’t really just a lack of doing something. It’s also about what’s going on inside our hearts and heads. Are we thinking loving, joyful thoughts during a “waiting” moment? Do we have peace from God knowing He has a plan for us in this time? Because I’ll tell you my friend, if we stand in line tapping our foot and being annoyed we might just miss the opportunity to help an elderly person who is struggling with her groceries.
The line, the wait, is just as long for Christians and non-Christians. Are we to be the same in how we deal with it? Or are we to remember “the eye of life’s tornados is the calm hope of our final destination” as Christian author Dane Ortlund observes? At all times.
These short term opportunities for patiently waiting help build up our long-term waiting muscles. When the pregnancy hasn’t happened, yet. When the right job hasn’t come along, yet. When the pain hasn’t gone away, yet. When our sons and daughters haven’t accepted the Lord, yet. These aren’t times to get impatient. They are times to show the world what we believe is true.
Each of those “yets” is a hope we place in God’s faithful, loving hands. He’s asking us to trust Him, just like He asked Abraham, the Israelites, and the apostles. He’s saying, “Wait.” More importantly He’s saying, “Wait patiently without fretting, without worry, without fear. Trust me.”
Is there something you are hoping for today? Ask Him in prayer. Then wait patiently. It may not be answered today or tomorrow or even in 10 years. But during that time of patience He will do great things in and through you.
I knew I would be asked to take the position. I was naturally the next in line of succession. They knew I had the leadership skills and an investment in the organization. When the call came, I said, “Yes” without much thought. Partially out of pride and partially out of what felt like the inevitable, I accepted the two-year commitment. It wasn’t until after my answer did I ask God to bless my decision. A bit late. His gift, you might say, to me was two years of lessons I would not have learned otherwise. Lessons, if offered prior, to which I would have said “No thank you.”
My lack of patience in making important decisions brought me head on to one definition of the word “makrothymia.” That’s the original Greek for the word we call patience in the list of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Other meanings include forbearance, endurance, and longsuffering. Those two years had long lasting effects as I endured character assassinations, hatred slung at me, friends deserting me, and more. You see, with my simple, impatient answer of “yes” I had committed to being the PTA* president of a large elementary school. A volunteer job that made me the lightning rod for all complaints, anger and frustrations from the parents of more than 1,000 school children.
Looking back, I realized even with waiting patiently for God to give me an answer I probably would have been led to the same decision. My skills were needed to help shepherd the school through large-scale changes. However, had I waited for His go ahead I would have had a completely different outlook on the result. I saw what was happening to me as almost a punishment for not seeking His counsel first. I have since understood that God forgives us for our sins but He doesn’t always save us from the consequences. During that two year journey I learned that He did, in fact, know better than me. And it was time to start leaning into that truth.
Some of the antonyms to patience include defiance, resistance and disobedience. Well-worn words throughout the Old Testament. Oh, those impatient Israelites! It’s a good thing we are nothing like them!
Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. Psalms 107:17
That one line in Psalm 107 could be the end of the story. However, as Christians we must remember this essential truth: He loves us. He loves us so immensely, desires glorious joy in our lives, and peace in our souls that He doesn’t leave us to suffer. We need only ask for help. Psalm 107 goes on:
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Psalms 107:19-21
I cried a lot those two years. I cried in pity for myself. I cried from hurt feelings. I cried out of helplessness. And then I cried out to God. He told me to endure. To keep doing the job I promised to do, but do it in His name.
It slowly dawned on me I had the entire process of faith down wrong. It seems too simple: Ask God first. Wait patiently for His answer. Act on His answer. It doesn’t mean the seas won’t churn. It doesn’t mean there won’t be a few weeds in the garden. It does mean we are acting in His will and trusting that He has good plans for us.
Believing the providence of God, embracing the providence of God, enables us to be patient and faithful in the long, dragged-out, often unexpected trials of life, amidst the most inexplicable circumstances, detours, and delays that, from our limited viewpoint, make no sense.
So, my friends, this week as we look at “makrothymia,” let’s first remember before we can even hope to bloom in patience or endurance, we must trust the love of God.
* For those of you not in the United States PTA is the organization at many schools that supports parents and teachers through volunteering and fundraising.
Fools show their annoyance at once,
but the prudent overlook an insult. Proverbs 12:16
This is the second rendition of today’s post. When I started this blog over two years ago, I asked the Holy Spirit to speak through me. If writing a particular post felt like I was pulling teeth I knew it wasn’t coming from the right source. As a result, the post I wrote earlier went into the “delete” pile. Each sentence I wrote was interrupted either by texts, my husband, timers going off, etc. I now realize every time my mind wandered to one of those interruptions it was a tap on my shoulder to re-focus and re-write.
You see what was happening in the background of my original text was this very proverb. I was getting annoyed and offended by problems surrounding an event I am hosting. It only took me about a half a day to finally figure it out. The Holy Spirit giving me a real life example of practicing what I preach!
Being offended has risen to an artform these days. We are offended by other drivers, cashiers, politicians, neighbors, strangers, businesses, faceless people in our social media threads, our friends, our family, our spouses and on and on. If “they” don’t conform to our wants and needs, it might ruin our day. If “they” don’t act how we think they should we are hurt and insulted. No grace and definitely no mercy.
We take for granted that God won’t do the same to us. Thank goodness because we all probably offend Him multiple times a day. While He may allow our sinful actions to suffer the corresponding consequences, He isn’t sending down bolts of lightning to smote us each time we mess up. He hasn’t washed His hands of us because He’s had it for the last time.
Friends, it’s time to step back and control our emotions. We have in Jesus the perfect example for us today. He was whipped, beaten, stabbed, spit on, forsaken by friends, and hung on a cross yet He still loved. He still asked God to grant mercy. Today, can’t we do the same with the brothers and sisters around us who are probably doing their best to make it through this day just like you? I, for one, got this message loud and clear today.
Gracious God, thank you for your mercy. Help me to deliver that same mercy and grace to those around me who might insult me or cause offense. I thank you for teaching me how to seek peace throughout my days. Amen
Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. Proverbs 8:34
Have you ever met one of those people that seem to calmly wait in long lines? Like they’ve got nothing better to do? That attitude has always seemed strange and foreign to me. I mean, I’ve got stuff to accomplish. People to see, errands to run! Patience has definitely not been one of my well-honed attributes. But if I learned anything during the Covid years it was to slow down, way down. In fact, when everything started opening up I could feel my body reacting to getting back in the busy flow of life, speeding up to meet the traffic. The Holy Spirit whispered to me again to slow down, to wait, to watch and to listen.
While the verse today specifically speaks to waiting for wisdom and insight, I think we can all agree that patience really is a virtue in every aspect of our lives. Oh, how many times in my baby Christian days did I jump into situations without first asking a few questions or even praying about them! Those were the days of making decisions first then asking God afterwards to make those decisions work out for the best.
As I’ve worked on developing a more patient frame of mind it’s caused me to evaluate why I am impatient. I mean think about it. As you’re tapping your foot in line at the coffee shop what are you really contemplating? Your time is so much more valuable than anyone else’s? If you were in charge, things would be running a lot smoother? The cashier obviously isn’t smart enough or cares enough about his job? The root of all these is pride, lack of grace and humility.
Or maybe you tend to jump at opportunities like a new job, an investment, a free giveaway or a deal on a purchase. If you don’t act now you might just miss out! Is it that you’ve placed money as an idol, either saving it or spending it? Or status and recognition before wise choices?
Friend, unless you are faced with an immediate life or death decision, wisdom asks us just for a few moments of time. A chance to gain insight into the choice or attitude you are about to take. So let’s all take a collective breath say a prayer.
Lord, I get so caught up in the daily comings and goings of my life and need your help to slow down and be patient. Remind me today to give grace to those who need it and seek insight for my decisions. Amen
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
I’ll admit to you right here for the world to read that I have a serious problem with cursing. Once upon a time I was innocent with my expletives. I’d say, “Jimminy Crickets!” and “gosh darn.” And then I started working in a restaurant. By the time I’d graduated high school my responses to things that went awry or to not nice people weren’t so innocent any more. Up until recently I figured I just needed to work harder at stopping. But I was reminded that overcoming sin requires more than just “working harder.”
I read a devotional that convicted me of the root of my sin – the status of my heart. It shone a light on what was flowing from my heart — anger, pride, unforgiveness, lack of compassion, lack of self-control. Although James was spot on with his imagery of the tongue being like a fire, I realized that that fire is sparked by my heart.
My “ah ha” moment that day was how much anger I allow to swirl around in my head and in my heart when someone doesn’t act how I expect or when the world doesn’t stick to My Plan. Instead of compassion, kindness, love there’s *@%! A truly ugly use of my God-given heart and tongue. And a heart change can only take place with the help of the Holy Spirit. My gal pals know I’ve joined forces with the Holy Spirit to remind me of the fruits of the spirit whenever I leave my house (because I never seem to have a cussing problem in the quiet confines of my She Shed!). I cannot produce this fruit; I can only bear it because I am closely attached to the vine of Jesus.
Friend, the world doesn’t think cussing is any big deal these days. In the past, you’d never hear cuss words on tv or on the radio. If you’ve ever spent more than a few minutes at an elementary school – yes, elementary school – you’ll find our lax attitudes toward this sin have affected our children. But we are called as Christians to be different. To be transformed. We are to guard our hearts from taking in and spewing darkness. I, for one, take the pledge. How about you?
Holy Spirit, guide my choices today in what I take into my mind and heart and help me to return to the world the fruits of your Spirit – kindness, compassion, patience and most of all love. Amen
“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11
Holy Spirit, whatever decisions and choices I make today help them to be in service and glorification of God. Amen
I read an Instagram post the other day that asked this question: “Are you doing what makes you happy or what glorifies God?” I would venture to say on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis we probably lean toward what makes us happy. Sure, when it comes to bigger more difficult decisions, we may seek God’s counsel. But how often when we are choosing what to eat, what to do with our free time, when we go about our chores and errands, before we open the door to enter work or school do we think, what’s God say about this? What could I do in this very situation that would make God happy? What could I say to my spouse/friend/adult child that would sound like a word from the Lord?
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
We can take this piece of scripture and use it as a sort of “out” when it comes to our everyday lives being aligned with God. We can never know all that God is thinking so we just go about our lives as best we can, right? That may be true if we never study scripture or pray for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom. Because when we do those two things, God will constantly be on our minds and lips. He may even want that mundane day you have planned turned into something that glorifies Him.
We will never be fully satisfied with making our own choices about our lives. It may appear that some people who have fame and fortune without God “have it all.” As Christ followers we know true satisfaction, however, comes from the only constant thing in the world – God. He knows what’s best for us. He knows what will work in our lives to glorify the kingdom.
Friend, when we change our daily thinking to God’s plan, not ours, we will also enjoy the fruits of the spirit – peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. And that sounds a lot better than anything I might’ve planned for my day.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:8
I sat in my car after having just left yet another doctor’s appointment and announced out loud, “I hate doctors!” One more doctor who treated me with some level of impatience all the while acknowledging I needed surgery. But then I took a step back from my prideful emotions and realized this person – a man of flesh and blood – was gifted by God the ability to heal me. I didn’t need him as a friend, I need him as a healer. And I gave thanks for his able hands and depth of knowledge concerning my medical issue.
Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” John 5:8
I was reminded of the scene by the healing pool when Jesus encountered the invalid who had been laying by the pool for 38 years. Jesus simply asked, “Do you want to be healed?” And then told him to get moving. And I realized how much I expect my doctors to be the tender, compassionate Jesus. But even Jesus himself was a no nonsense healer.
My own daughter is a doctor of physical therapy. She’s a pretty no nonsense kind of person. She’s also very good at her job. When her patients are done with treatments, or during the holidays, they shower her with loving, thoughtful gifts. It’s because, while she is good at listening to their needs, what they truly want is healing and she delivers.
I’ve had kind doctors, rude doctors, dismissive doctors, attentive ones. I have to admit that just about all of them have done what I needed them for – healing. Doing something for me that I could never do myself. So, while I may not like every doctor’s bedside manner, I can say a prayer while sitting in the “big chair” thanking God for their skill and for the healing that is to come. And I pray for me to have patience and kindness in between.
…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:13
How glorious would it have been to live when Jesus was physically here on Earth? To sit at the Sermon on the Mount and hear His words directly from His mouth? To be in a busy marketplace and bump into Him – turning to see directly into His face? Isn’t it amazing how He spent so little time here with us yet the impact has been so astounding that even our days are marked by when He arrived? And when He ascended, the gift He left behind is something for which we can never be thankful enough.
“If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.John 14: 15-17
When you study the Bible you see how Jesus and the Holy Spirit touched lives even before the time we say God became fully human. Their presence is woven throughout the Old Testament. So it’s not as though they were created suddenly. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all spoke the world into creation and have placed their holy hands on our lives throughout history.
So, today specifically I praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and for being our constant intercessor, our inner voice, our God whisperer.
It is the Holy Spirit that helps us to pray when we don’t know what to pray – because the situation has gotten so dire. It is the Holy Spirit who whispers to us to get up and do God’s work. It is the Holy Spirit who partners with us when we need rescue.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.Romans 8:26
I shared with my BSGs in the past that when I’m really stressed or worried I have a difficult time praying. My mind is so jumbled and full of negative thoughts I can’t seem to quiet it down. One of my BSGs responded saying, “I’ve just cried out, “help me!” when I don’t know what to say.” That’s great advice. It says it right there in Romans 8. The Holy Spirit will help us pray. Will give us the words to speak to God.
Friends, God is so beautiful and loving that He didn’t leave us orphans. He didn’t leave us grieving because He left us with a piece of Him inside of each of us. I once heard a Christian teacher say that we don’t need to attain patience, kindness, love, etc. We already have all those imputed through the Holy Spirit that lives in us because we believe. We just need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us release those gifts. To help us pray the words to fight back against the devil. To whisper to us “love this person right now.”
We need to believe that God has given us the access to this awesome power. And once we do that, we should pray to unleash it with all its glorious might.
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
“We are pretty much the only hope that God has for reaching people who need him.”
On a recent visit with my daughter back in St. Louis, Missouri, she invited me to her friend’s 50th birthday gathering. It was to be just a small group as her larger party had already taken place. My daughter, who is 23, is blessed to have a number of women in her life who are not only mature in their marriages and in life in general, but in their faith. As I sat listening to them, I said a silent prayer of thanks to God. He, once again, put me right where I needed to be.
I listened as these Christian women of varied ages shared memories of shared events and the joy of being disciples to younger women. You see, their church encourages all ages to seek being discipled by more experienced Christians – something I haven’t experienced in the 20 years I’ve been an active Christian.
The birthday girl’s good friend suddenly announced we were to all take turns expressing what we loved about the newly christened 50 year old. She turned to me and said, “You don’t know Renee well so you don’t need to say anything.” I disagreed. I definitely had much to love about this woman that I had just met.
As each woman spoke, I felt the love flow throughout the group. It was sweet and brave and authentic. And at my turn I’m sure they all wondered what I would have to say.
“As a mother I miss my daughter terribly. She’s so far away. She has no family for hundreds of miles. And now with a baby on the way it grieves me that she is alone out here. But I realize she isn’t. I am so thankful she has Renee as her friend and godly counsel. A mother couldn’t ask for anything better besides being here herself,” I said.
You see my daughter’s friend, Renee, has taken her under her beautiful wings. She provides wise counsel about marriage, faith, motherhood and more. I could be jealous when I hear my daughter talk about her relationship with Renee. But my faith progression has brought me instead to a place of thankfulness. My daughter is incredibly blessed to be surrounded by Christian women who are prepared and ready to offer Biblical counsel.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free" Luke 4:18
That’s Jesus in the above verse. Jesus our wise counselor setting us free from our prisons. And He trained up His disciples to spread His message of salvation and freedom. Like the old shampoo commercial goes, “and they told two friends and so on and so on.” Which brings us thousands of years later to this little group at a café in Missouri.
Here’s what I noticed about those six women I sat with that night. 1) They didn’t gossip 2) They lifted each other up with genuine compliments 3) They showed love and concern for each other 4) They were confident in expressing their faith and 5) They were eager and willing to take up being disciples.
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
These women are living the Great Commission. Teaching and guiding and loving Jesus’ flock. I sat there like a fan-girl marveling at being in the midst of ordinary women who were so extraordinary. Yes, ordinary women. They aren’t pastors or scholars although one is in fact a trained Christian counselor. They are students of Jesus. It gave me hope of what I could achieve with faith and the blessings of God.
I took the opportunity to ask a few of them a Christian counseling question.
“If I find myself in a situation with a fellow Christian who is struggling with an issue, what’s your best advice?” I inquired.
Without hesitation three of the women, including my daughter who herself disciples young women, said: “You need to really get to know the person. There needs to be a sense of trust that you come from a place of love.” And the birthday girl? She emphasized my old favorite, truth plus love. Not being afraid to speak God’s truth into someone from a loving perspective. Remember that Jesus trait of having a warrior spirit? Renee takes it to heart. She knows the end game – saving a soul.
“As you being the process of bringing correction into someone’s life, put yourself in his shoes. If you were the one sitting there, would it be easy or difficult for you to hear what is about to be said? If the person you are correcting acts closed at first it may be that he’s just embarrassed or reacting out of insecurity. Therefore don’t stop the conversation unless you can see that he’s just being combative. You need to be patient and slow in judging their reaction to your correction.”
Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems from the Greek
Isn’t this the reaction we worry about the most when we need to speak truth to our Christian friends or family members? A fear of making someone angry or embarrassed? But here lies the reason why “Wise Counselor” sits at the end of our faith progression. Without love, without a sense of serving God, without courage, without knowledge of the Lord’s will, we will probably fail at being what our friend, child, sibling, co-worker, or sister in Christ truly needs.
So, when Jesus asks us to “follow” He isn’t just offering Himself up to save us from eternal damnation which by itself is a pretty amazing gift. He’s saying “join me in a journey.” He’s saying, “we’ve got work to do together.” And if we stop partway on the journey and decide we are “fine” where we are at, we miss the opportunities He wants to put in front of us to free more captives.
I don’t know about you but I need wise Christian counselors in my life. And if I could be like Renee and be a blessing in other’s lives, I know it’d make Jesus smile. My imperfect progress, as my friend Betsy likes to say, is still progress. I want to know and live out having the mind of Christ. I’m not where I was when I started and I still have a ways to go. Thankfully, I can trust that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are my guides and cheerleaders.
When we started this journey, I invited you to say a prayer of confession I found in Sparkling Gems from the Greek. And true to God’s ways He put another in front of me to close out this series. Please join me in this prayer and confession. I pray that you seek love, humbleness, courage, and wisdom on your journey.
“Lord, I ask you to help be kind and patient when it is essential for me to bring correction. Help me to not be offended if the person I’m trying to help doesn’t respond at first the way I wished he would have. Help me put myself in that person’s shoes and to sympathize with how he might feel. I ask You to give me wisdom to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. I also ask that You give the other person the grace to hear what I am telling him so he might see that I have his best interest at heart and that I am only trying to help him. I pray this in Jesus’ name!”
“I confess that I have the mind of Jesus Christ! When it is needful to me to speak correction to someone else I do it with love, kindness and patience. I refrain from allowing anger to rise up inside me. I am careful about the words that come out of my mouth, and I refuse to participate in vain arguing. I remain in control of myself as the Holy Spirit works mightily inside me. My words bring life to all who hear and receive them! I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!”