This is post #7 of a 16-session blog series entitled The Christ Collection: Putting on the Likeness of Jesus. Each and every day, you and I, as Christ followers, can pull out a few of these beauties and slip into something comfortable. Hand-crafted masterpieces made for this world, so when we wear them, we can go out on Christ’s behalf, shining brightly like the Son. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: As, therefore, God’s picked representatives of the new humanity, purified and beloved of God Himself, be merciful in action, kindly in heart, humble in mind. Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues. Colossians 3: 12-14 (Phillips)
Without a doubt, life is full of situations that can certainly try our patience. Whether it be our children, our co-workers, or other assorted people, places or things; hardly a day goes by without us feeling the pinch when it comes to having our patience stretched.
And let’s be honest here. Some days my patience gets stretched a bit, but there are other days when my patience gets pulled way beyond its breaking point! How about you?
I remember one pastor friend of mine who said that one of his most-utilized prayers was…
Oh God, give me patience…and give it to me QUICKLY!
You see, life simply doesn’t play fair. And one of the major tests of our character throughout this lifetime will be focused on our ability (or inability) to find patience with people, places, and situations that we simply cannot control.
So, when Paul writes his pastoral letter to his friends in Colossae, pointing out the Eight Garments we need to cloth ourselves with each day, know with a certainty that Patience will be right in the middle of that list.
Interestingly enough, the New Testament Greek word Paul uses here in his letter is the same word he used over in his letter to the Galatians when he was listing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. That word is makrothumia (mak-ro-thoo-mee-ah) and it can be translated into English using words or phrases such as:
Patience or Long-suffering.
In Greek, the word is formed using two other Greek words. Makrós, which means long, and thymós, which means passion or anger. Put these two Greek words together and you have a person who operates in makrothumia, one who chooses to wait a sufficient amount of time before expressing anger.
This begs the question.
What’s your thymós clock look like?
Is it rare for you to go several minutes or even hours before your patience runs thin and your anger flares?
Or, are you able to endure days, weeks, months, or even years before a situation flips your trigger?
Tough questions, huh?
You see, God is the only being in the universe who has complete control over His thymós. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures indicate that it’s only God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, who has the inward ability to operate in long-suffering, forbearing with us in our sinful condition, granting patience toward our silliness and selfishness, instead of wiping us off the face of the planet, in a fit of holy rage.
As we mentioned earlier, the New Testament implies that this makrothumia, this Garment of Patience Paul mentions here is actually a gift of the Spirit, a fruit forming from God’s Tree of Life, not a work of our flesh (see Galatians 5: 22-23).
So, you see, my friends, when you and I find ourselves short of patience, saying and doing things out of our un-tempered and short-leashed anger, God doesn’t expect us to fix the problem through well-meaning attempts at anger-management. While these life-management skills can be very helpful indeed, know that God would also love to give us His gift of makrothumia, allowing His divinely-regulated patience, His long-suffering, His forbearance to cloth us as we journey through this difficult thing we call life.
My Prayer: Ok, Jesus. I admit my short-temperedness, my inability to control my anger, my constant frustration with people, places, and things that I simply cannot control. I know that You were able to manage Your anger, making it work for good instead of allowing it to a be destructive force. Holy Spirit, cloth me with the Garment of Patience, granting God’s gift of forbearing love. For Your glory and for Your name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Thoughts to Ponder: While there is nothing overtly wrong with being angry, there is a wrongness to a premature use of force or retribution that rises out of an improper anger. How susceptible am I to being short-tempered, saying and doing things out of knee-jerk reactions? Am I willing to slip on the Garment of Patience, becoming more like Jesus who was long-tempered with his emotions? What might it look like for me to wear that Garment of makrothumia today?
So, what are you experiencing as we ponder upon Colossian’s Christ Collection?
We hope you’ll enjoy these 16 blogs that focus on the amazing garments and accessories God has hand-crafted for us so that as we wear them, we can better reflect the nature and likeness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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