Last week, we began the list of things that we DO see (or SHOULD SEE) in the lives of those who follow Jesus through the power of the Spirit… if you didn’t catch that one, you can read it here.
Essentially, we see over and over again how easy it is for people to attempt to characterize the Christian faith by who or what we AREN’T, or what we DON’T believe instead of what we DO BELIEVE. We’re going to continue our list below:
4. Patience. - This is SO DIFFICULT TO LEARN!!! I would venture to guess that 99% of the time, God places people and situations in our lives to TEACH US patience and grace instead of just zapping us with a lightning bolt and hereby declaring us formally “patient.” Wouldn’t the lightning bolt be so much easier?? Yes. And that’s the ironic point of learning patience. Isaiah 40:31 tells us that those who WAIT ON THE LORD will renew their strength… an old song we sang at Christian summer camp was this verse put to music, and then it was a small prayer at the end that says, “teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait.” When we begin recognizing patience in our lives, we begin seeing how truly remarkable God’s grace and mercy and patience towards us really is.
5. Kindness. - One of my natural (and most likely sinful) gifts is that of sarcasm. And I don’t mean your typical run-of-the-mill sarcasm. I can just be flat out mean… and HIGHLY sarcastic, and because of that, quite rude. But I’ll admit - there were times where the sarcasm was funny. At least for others. Guess what I WASN’T showing through all my sarcasm? Yep. Kindness. I wasn’t overlooking faults and mistakes, I was calling them out for all to see and laugh at. It was horrible. It was sin. It was in no way Christ-like. One could define “being kind” as “showing grace” in that some people (perhaps a LOT of people) don’t deserve our kindness. Show it to them anyway. We didn’t deserve God’s kindness to us through Jesus. He showed it to us anyway. People are struggling. Even though they put on a front, they’re broken inside. Show them kindness. They’re going to be different from you. They’re going to be a different gender, race, ethnicity, political system, or sexual orientation, from you… show them kindness. You don’t have to APPROVE of them, but being kind says you ACCEPT them right where they are. Why? Because Jesus accepted me… right where I was.
6. Goodness. - how does one define goodness? A couple of synonyms are decency, and integrity, and honesty. That’s why the prayer in Psalm 23 is that "...surely GOODNESS and MERCY will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.” This is after David was anointed (“set apart”) by God, and what overwhelmed by God’s loving-kindness. Because we’re recognizing God’s goodness to us, we begin spilling out onto others around us, and pointing them back to what God has done for us - that’s the honesty and integrity coming into play!! Love others by pointing them to the God from Whom ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!
Matthew 25:35-40 sums these three characteristics of the Christian faith up quite well… Check it out.
Do you wonder if you’re being patient or showing kindness or goodness to others? Check your Facebook feed. Check your Instagram feed. Check your Twitter feed. When you’re hiding behind the cloak of the internet and a computer screen, your boldness changes… so does your stupidity. They both go up, and when mixed together, it doesn’t bode well for learning patience, and showing kindness and goodness to others.
…to be continued…