Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011 …Christ’s Patient Example

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: 1, 2 [see bold/underlined portion] – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

My Journal for Today: Okay, for those who’ve been with me during these January devotionals, some of you may be saying, “Aren’t we dwelling a bit long in Eph. 4: 1-2?” But can I use a little double-entendre and say, “Please be patient!” Because my devotional shepherd, John MacArthur, in his Strength for Today is going deep to explore the enourmous need for us, as Christians, to be worthy of Christ with Christlike patience. So, perhaps just staying in this passage this long is a test of patience. ;)

But MacArthur recognizes, and I agree, that it’s difficult to be a patient Christian in a world that always is in “go mode;” and with our sin nature, we all have hearts so filled with the vulnerability of selfishness and sin. But as I’ve said, Jesus Himself commanded that we follow Him (see Luke 9: 23); and Paul, in Phil. 2: 5, which I will quote again here for emphasis, strongly declares that all Christians should have the attitude of Christ …

>>> SCRIPTURE: Phil. 2: 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; …

Certainly, Jesus was the perfect model of patience! Think about it. In the few years of His earthly ministry, He endured incredibly negative circumstances. First of all, He left the perfection of The Trinity [as I’d encourage you to review in Phil. 2: 6 – 11] to be humiliated, rejected, blasphemed, and spat upon, … all to endure the cross (see Heb. 12: 2) for my soul and yours.

>>> SCRIPTURE: Heb. 12: 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Truly amazing grace, isn’t it? And Christ also showed His perfected patience, being fully God and ministering in His humanity, by coping in a loving way with all kinds of difficult people. I’m thinking now of how, during those three years with His inner 12, He endured their disbelief and questions, over and over again, in spite of all the miracles they witnessed. Just think of how patiently the Lord endured the pain and ignominy during His Passion as He marched to the cross. And in the garden of Gethsemane He so patiently and lovingly, in such agony, accepted the will of His Father to accept the cup of death upon His shoulders (see Matt. 26: 39); and then hanging there in the darkness on the cross, dying, He would say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 34). Is that not patience personified?

It is no wonder that Paul charged the Church (all of us who are Christians) through Timothy (in 1st Tim. 1: 15-16) to be as Christ in our patience …

>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Tim. 1: 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I [Paul] am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

When I meditate on that passage, I identify so completely with Paul’s mindset. Paul saw himself as a sinner of the prime order; and so do I. Yes, he had matured in his faith over the years of his discipleship, as have I. But I’m no where near as sanctified as was Paul when he wrote this; and he was almost blown away by Christ’s patience in His willingness to become a man and to save a former Christian hater and killer. Wow, the model of patience we follow is worthy of that followership in our worshipful living. And yes, I need more seasoning in sanctification to be as patient as was my Savior.

My Prayer Today: You are worthy, Lord, of all the patience I can muster to honor You in this life I lead. Amen

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