And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
1 Thessalonians 5:14
We live in a society of impatience. It's a fact. Once upon a time there were simply sporadic impatient people in one's life, but now... now it seems, everywhere we turn, impatience rules the roost. It is shamelessly dealt with in often hurtful and remorseful blows as if impatience is the current "trend" and everyone has to jump on the bandwagon.
Last year, as the kids and I studied art appreciation together, something struck me: certain genre of art were birthed out of a longing to return to a simpler time, this was especially true during the industrial revolution. And now, every where I turn in the world of decorating and leisure: simple living, country farmhouse style, hammocking, and nostalgia. Coinkydink? I think not. Our society is desperately longing for a reprieve from the bustle of living and the rude world bearing down right outside our front door.
How do we negotiate the turns of a life spiraling in directions farther and farther from truth and hope and peace? Where do we stand when impatience tears at friendships once held dear or family relationships are strained over the differences un-bridgable by human strength? When the world spins and the t.v. set blares... where is our peace? How do we keep our patience?
Studying 1 Thessalonians 5:14 I find seeds of hope which, well planted, I believe deeply, can spring forth endless possibilities....
Admonish, or, caution, advise and counsel those who are undisciplined or not forward moving in their faith (idle). When necessary, yes, mildly scold (an extreme attribute of "admonish") but first strive to constructively help them focus.
Encourage those who are lacking courage (the fainthearted). Help them to rediscover the Source of courage so they might persevere.
Help the weak when they don't have the strength to help themselves.
Above all, scripture commands us: be patient... with some? ...with those who follow our advice?... with those we favor? ...no, with ALL. ALWAYS seek to do good.
Life is messy. It is a bustle of whirling conundrums. People are difficult, relationships are hard and faith and perseverance in the midst of it all is often the biggest challenge a Christian faces. However, God doesn't leave us on our own. He sends His Spirit for strength and guidance and He has gifted us His Word to help light the way. 1 Thessalonians doesn't just tell us to be patient, it continues to equip us as to HOW...
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
- Thessalonians 5:16-22
Rejoice always... not just in good times, but even in bad, even when facing impatient people. Let your patience come from the joy of Jesus and God's power to prevail in all. Celebrate that God gives you challenges to make you stronger or that He remains with you to give you strength along the way.
Pray NONSTOP. Every time worry or frustration with someone pops into mind (or in the middle of an encounter) pray. Pray for wisdom as to what to say. Pray for them and their struggles. Pray for peace in the process.
Give thanks, for the good AND the bad. Even in the worst of moments and interactions, thank God that He is God and believe in Him for what He will do. Thank Him for it all. He is working ALL things to a greater good we ought to be honored to be counted in as part of.
Hold FAST to what is good.... hold tight. If you are clenching the good, however small a glimmer it is in a moment, it is difficult to hold onto surliness. Light and dark cannot coexist and I propose; neither can true good and patience coexist with impatience and all that is unsavory.
Be patient with them all. Such a small statement with such HUGE implications. Less a request and more a command. Not circumstantially but rather sweeping the spectrum of human kind.
The thing is, we are a society of "ME". We often miss the grander scope... each Christian is part of a society of HE. How we allow Christ to reflect through us to the world around is paramount in countering a culture of impatient, NOW, just gimme mindsets. Light CAN overcome the darkness, but first, we must be ready and willing to reflect it. We must become a new culture of patient among the impatient.
Love is patient... Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13)..... Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)....By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)
In all of the LOVE commands of the Bible, if we insert "patience" as just one of it's many attributes we begin to see how we can make a difference. Not for ourselves... but for the Kingdom of God come here and now.
I pray you are able to find the strength in Christ each day to blanket patience in love to ALL as you advise those needing help moving forward, encourage them who feel discouraged and help all those who have lost their strength to find help themselves.
This "Love is..." devo is inspired by my new Bible Study out this month where we take a unique approach of correlating the whole of scripture to the tenets of 1 Corinthians 13. Have you been longing to learn how to love as Christ calls us to? You may want to check this study out. You can find a FREE link on my Instagram profile OR you can subscribe to my newsletter (it is FREE) and receive February's issue with the "Love Is" Bible study and more. Details are below:
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