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Mar 20 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

March 20, 2022



Put on then, as God’s chosen people, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience . . . . Colossians 3:12

Intro: The — word — I’ll — talk — about — today is —-


I remember reading through Colossians many years ago
– in the first chapter, I came across a “power verse”
• what I mean, is a verse that makes a prayer for, or a promise of spiritual energy
◦ for instance, this is what Jesus did for his disciples:
[Jesus] called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases (Lk. 9:1)
Or, . . . you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8)
• Paul told the Colossians he was praying for them
that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of him . . . being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might . . .
◦ at this point I got excited and imagined myself working miracles;
exorcising demons, healing the sick, raising the dead
◦ but reading on, this is what I found
being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (Col. 1:9-11)
– my immediate thought was, “What a rip-off!”
• I did not want to be empowered for patience

The typical place to begin a talk like this is with the word itself

It is a Greek compound, consisting of two words:
– one means distance (in space or time) and the other means passion (intense emotion, e.g., rage)
• the King James Version provides the literal sense with long-suffering
◦ the patient person must “suffer” discomfort, resisting the impulse to act out, and so on
• patience is the opposite of someone who has a “short fuse”
◦ God’s self-description in Exodus says, he is “slow to anger” (Ex. 34:6)
◦ in fact, we learn this virtue from God’s example–and the example of Jesus
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost [sinner], Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life (1 Tim. 1:16)
– slow to anger is an important insight into the how of patience works
• it has to do with timing
soldiers who joined King David’s army are described as men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do (1 Chr. 12:32)
Elijah asked his servant Gahazi, Was [this] a time to accept money and garments . . . ? (2 Ki. 5:26)
◦ this rhetorical question assumes the answer is “No”
• do I understand the nature of the times?
◦ do I know what is the appropriate action for this moment?
◦ patience is accepting each moment for what it is and for
what can and cannot be expected from it or what can and cannot be done in it
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted . . . (Ecc. 3:1-8)

There’s a common misconception we need to correct

All my life I’ve heard variations of this advice:
“Don’t pray for patience, because God will send you more trials for you to practice it.”
– this is not faith and it is not even biblical
• it is superstition – like throwing salt over your shoulder
• another problem with this advice
◦ Nancy pointed it out to me this past week when she asked, “What kind of God do they think he is?”
◦ listen to Jesus teach us what kind God the Father is
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? . . . If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him? (Mt. 7:9-11)
– we can ask God to help us with each of the virtues,
• especially the ones that give us the most trouble

I don’t think you and I need to be reminded of the saying, “Patience Is A Virtue”

In previous generations, this was used as a motivation
– I don’t know if many people are motivated by virtue today
• anyway, being patient with “things” we can’t control is a virtue
◦ traffic, waiting for water to warm up in the shower, elevators, etc.
◦ tp not be jittery with things telling them, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon”
• patience with things is good,
◦ but patience with people is absolutely necessary
William Barclay [regarding the Greek word makrothumia says], “This is the spirit which never loses its patience with its fellow-men. Their foolishness and their unteachability never drive it to cynicism or despair; their insults and their ill-treatment never drive it to bitterness or wrath.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Scratch the surface of impatience and what you will find lying beneath it, subtly or not so subtly, is anger. It is the strong energy of not wanting things to be the way they are and blaming someone or something. This doesn’t mean you can’t hurry when you have to. It is possible even to hurry patiently, mindfully, moving fast because you have chosen to.”
– we have to be patient with people, because we’re all imperfect
• in Matthew 18, Jesus tells a story about two debtors
◦ one is forgiven, but refuses to forgive debt of the other
◦ the story is not only about forgiveness, but also patience
Both men, in turn, begged, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.”
• why is a person who visits a doctor called a “patient”
◦ because healing requires patience

Patience works relational magic

In the famous “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians,
– this is the first word regarding what love is
Love is patient and kind (1 Cor. 13:4)
• think of that! The first thing love must be is patient
◦ patience is the key to preserving and protecting relationships
◦ patience is how we build and repair relationships
• do you remember what Jesus said was greatest commandment?
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets (Mt. 22:37-40)
And Paul, Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Ro. 13:8-10)
◦ St. Augustine applied this insight to the virtues
Augustine, “I hold virtue to be nothing else than perfect love of God.” “Therefore, where charity is full and perfect there will be no remains of vice.”
◦ commenting on this, John Langan wrote,
Langan, “Augustine then understands the moral life of the Christian as the progressive development of charity, which is the one explanatory entity that underlies the activity of all the virtues.”
Notice how this ties all the virtues together in love–as here in Colossians 3:14
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
– if we think of all the virtues as separate items,
• then we might be tempted to focus on one at a time
• but love is a complex mixture of various qualities
◦ like a bowl of fruit
. . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)
– if I think I’m loving well in one virtue, tend to cheat on others
• we hear, “Everyone has a vice” or “Chocolate is my one vice”
◦ but if all virtues are manifestations of love, we can’t skimp
◦ we can’t dismiss the one that seem most difficult or unpleasant

Patience is a path to peace

There are two psalms that express poet’s stress, and both end with:
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD (Pss. 27:14; 31:24)
– Psalm 40 begins,
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined his ear to me and heard my cry.
• we are frequently encouraged to wait for God
The LORD is good to those who wait for him (Lam. 3:25)
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
the young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint
(Isa. 40:30-31)
• patience protects us from making matters worse
◦ the angry texts we write, but don’t send; the sarcastic rants we don’t post
◦ who knows how much unhappiness and stress we have dodged by keeping our reactions to ourselves?
– if we do not learn patience, the world will drive us mad
• the sun will not rise until it rises, or go down until it goes down
◦ all of our impatience will not hurry its daily journey through the sky
• patience is not resignation, it is not giving up
◦ nor is it doing nothing, but patience is doing what can be done now
◦ patience cannot be forced, but it can be cultivated

Conclusion: The cool thing about patience,

Is that every single day will give us opportunity to practice it
Our bodies will tell us when it’s time to be patient
(Our bodies will tell others when we need to dial down)

When it is time to exercise patience,
let’s remind ourselves, “This is an opportunity to love someone”
An opportunity to love God, love my neighbor, or even love myself

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