Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men]. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
For the next 6 devotions, we will be looking at this word of encouragement from Paul to the members of the church at Thessalonica. Our devotions will center on the six exhortations given to us by Paul…
1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
In this morning’s devotional we will be looking at the fourth of Paul’s exhortations to us…
be patient toward all [men]
Patience is, perhaps for many of us, the most difficult of all these exhortations by Paul. But in the context of our study, to be patient is listed as one of the greatest ways that we can show Christ to others around us. Perhaps this is why to be patience is so hard on our flesh!
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
So what does the Bible mean by “patience” or “longsuffering”? Both of these words, in the above texts, are translated from the same Greek word (makrothumeo) that carries four basic ideas with it:
1. to carry a weight
2. for a long period of time
3. without feeling abused or mistreated
4. without allowing anger (or a desire for “payback”) to burn within us
In other words, it to be patient means “to humbly, willingly, suffer under a heavy burden for a long period of time in the absence of anger or desire for retribution.”
Another word that is commonly translated “patience” in the Bible (hupomoneo) is used to describe a donkey that patiently stands while his owner continually adds a heavier burden to its back. It stands there, not kicking the burden off, not braying or running off. It simply stands and accepts the burden placed upon it.
These words represent for us the Scriptural concept of patience.
As difficult as it may be, how many of us truly exhibit patience in our lives? Patience is demanded in both the small and large things in life. From the short-lived suffering of standing in a long, slow line at the store, to the long-term burden of medical issues, personality conflicts, or mistreatment and abuse by others; how do we react when these burdens that are placed upon us?
Over the years, I have become convinced that EVERYTIME the circumstances in our life demand patience, it is the Lord opening an opportunity for us to show Christ to those around us.
People are constantly watching us and seeing how we accept the difficult times of our lives… What will they say about us?
Will they see our sinful flesh controlling our lives causing selfishness to rear its ugly head? Or, will they see the humility and love of Christ in us?
Will they see that we are no different from the lost fallen world and see no reason to trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior? Or, will they see our lives and be motivated to turn to Christ and be delivered from the bondage of Satan and their flesh?
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)