- Patience (1 Timothy 1:15-16)
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
In this context, Paul is writing to his ‘child in the faith’, Timothy, who would carry Paul’s legacy in the days ahead. 1-2 Timothy are books of Paul giving Timothy instructions, challenges, charges, wisdom…but also perspective. Without perspective, the instructions, challenges, charges, and wisdom were in vain. The perspective was the Gospel. This is the price that Jesus paid for each of us, which we do not deserve.
If anyone experienced the true patience of God, it was the Apostle Paul. After Paul came to Christ, he walked through quite a journey of persecution and hardships (2 Corinthians 11), but the crazy thing is that he never complained about it (that we know of). He went from one extreme to another: persecuting Christians–to leading them and making disciples. Paul was just thankful that God demonstrated patience to him in a unique and radical way. He understood the perspective, and had seen the worst of the other side.
This patience that God gives to his children should be a push forward for us to be patient in return. Because we have experienced great, perfect patience, we can pass it on to other people. True patience requires dependence on the Holy Spirit and is only given by the Holy Spirit. Once it’s given and carried out, others cannot help but to notice and be drawn to it.
Reflection: How does the patience that God has demonstrated to us change the way you view patience with others and the journey of life?
- Kindness (Romans 2:3-4)
Do you suppose, O man- you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself- that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
In Romans 2, Paul is speaking of the judgment of God that we must all be aware of. The Romans were casting judgment on others for their actions, but it turned out that the ones judging were just as guilty. There is a difference in holding each other accountable and judging each other. The truth is, everyone is guilty of sinning against God. The important thing to keep in mind is repenting when we do sin. We will all be held accountable to God for the way we live our lives. We should repent of our sins, wrong motives and rebellious mistakes. We should repent because God is so kind. Paul reminds the Romans just how kind God has been to them. Although He is just, He is kind in doing so, considering what we deserve. We deserve way worse, but God loves us! His kindness is a practical overflow of who He is. Because He has been kind, we must respond.
May the kindness of God lead us to repent, but also to be kind to others. We have everything we need in Christ to be kind with and to others.
Reflection: How can the kindness of God to you compel you to be kind to others?
- Goodness (Psalm 23:6)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 was written by David to send the message that God is our great shepherd. He leads and guides His sheep..His children. There were many times when David was on the move, traveling, hiding, and crying out to God for deliverance over his enemies. David needed guidance. David received guidance, and David praised God. Because David had been delivered and rescued in the past, he could write this Psalm of praise, believing and knowing that God would deliver and rescue him in the days ahead.
Goodness is just one way to describe how God wants what is best for His children in the present and future. He will guide us to walk in that goodness. In this Psalm, David speaks of the goodness and mercy of God following the one who knows and loves Him. God is good to us in so many ways. His goodness is the essence of who he is.
As Christ-followers, we also have the ability to demonstrate an attitude and lifestyle of goodness to others. It is God’s goodness to us that presses us on through the journey of life, to in return, demonstrate an attitude and lifestyle of goodness to others, reflecting every attribute and trait that God has given us through His Holy Spirit.
Reflection: Just as the Psalmist does, give thanks to God for how he displays his goodness to us every day of our lives, in both the little and big things.