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Thursday, February 20, 2014


So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  
Colossians 3:12-14 NASB

Have you ever met someone in the body of Christ or outside the body of Christ who has made you feel this way? Perhaps, those who get under your skin?   "And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, PUT ON a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and PATIENCE; bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should YOU." Colossians 3:12-13.  Patience is mentioned here. We must learn PATIENCE in order to deal with irritation. In the New Testament, there are two words for PATIENCE. The first one is for PATIENCE under trials.  This is the kind of patience God uses to give us hope when we're under heavy burdens. He's using these trials to help us accomplish what is necessary for our growth and perfection. Knowing and being confident that He will see you through it with a stronger FAITH.  The second word is for PATIENCE with people.  This means interacting with others. Being patient with those immature and irrational people in our lives.  The second kind of PATIENCE is what I want to talk about.

It may seem unreasonable, but God has designed situations in which some irritating people may come into our lives with the purpose of building us up.  These may be people in your family, your spouse, your parents or even your children, and it may be someone in the body of Christ.  Paul really had all this in mind when he talked about relationships within the body of Christ.  Consider how many brethren love Jesus and His church until they meet someone within the body who irritates them.  But remember, you are going to be the irritating person for someone else.  The beauty of being in the body of Christ is that when we interact deeply with members of the body, we are going to have to learn to deal with such things.  Offenses, frustrations and annoyances are going to come.  So be prepared to deal with them because (1) God has redeemed you, (2) You're still growing into the stature of Christ, (3) God has designed this so that we might grow.

With this in mind, what do you do when you're around those that irritate you?  Do you choose to be patient with them?  Here are a few things to take into consideration:   (1) Remember that God has been very patient with you. Just think of all the foolishness you've done in your life, and yet we have a wonderful God who has been patient with us and has not cast us away, even when we deserve it. I need to grow here! I need to learn patience toward others since I am not naturally patient!  (2) There are always factors that you don't understand about the lives of others.  Maybe the person who irritates you or drives you crazy to the bone, has had a bad experience in the past that you don't know about.... and there may be some factors very fresh in that person's life as recent as 30 minutes ago that you have no clue about,  (3) Remember that you are not God!  Instead of judging, pray for them and help them carry their burdens in love.  I understand there is time for admonishing one another with Scripture.  But don't forget, this must be done in order to build them up in their faith.  It must be done with a prayerful humble attitude, not with bitterness or frustration in our hearts. God does not approve of this!  (4) Never underestimate that God is working in your life and in their lives.  He is strengthening the muscle of spirituality, maturity and firmness.  Don't forget that our purpose is to be a blessing to others,  (5) Remember that patience is learned moment by moment in irritating circumstances.  It is learned through changing seasons. We must be willing to learn patience with a humble attitude in order to exercise self-control. We need to let God train us here!  (6) God's will is to build the character of Christ in us by teaching us to rule over our emotions,  (7) There are so many blessings that come through learning and exercising patience with one another.  Do you remember Saul of Tarsus?  He was a persecutor and murderer of Christians.  I bet no one in the Lord's church liked him at all!  They hated him!  Yet, our Lord chose him as a valuable vessel to do His work.  So, when someone is irritating you remember that God may be using them in order to work in both our lives.

It is impossible not to experience this in and out of the body of Christ.  But be careful about giving someone a piece of your mind.  You might not have much to spare!   Be Christ like, not emotional.  Don't let your emotions condemn you.  Why not wait, hope, labor, be steadfast and cultivate faithfulness.  You are responsible before God for controlling your emotions, not theirs.  He is the ultimate JUDGE.

So let's underline the importance of patience, ruling over our emotions, waiting on God patiently, practicing patience with those who push our buttons.  Valuing patience is valuing spiritual maturity!  “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who captures a city.”  Proverbs 16:32.  What a powerful verse!  A slow to anger person, one who controls his spirit, is better, stronger, and more rare than a person able to capture a whole city.  In other words, he who is patient, WILL WIN.

In what areas do you find it most difficult to be patient toward others?  May God help us to bear this burden!


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