My wife and I had the glorious experience of meeting our newest granddaughter yesterday afternoon! Through the technological wonders of FaceTime we were able to instantly course through a little over 1100 miles and be in our youngest daughter’s living room as she cuddled the little bundle of joy in her arms. Now, I am sure that I am not being prejudice here… but I tell you… what a beauty! You talk about a heartfelt reaction to the miracle of a new life… Wow! Looking at tiny Sarah Piper even solicited a smile on my Piper’s lips! Needless to say, we are looking forward to physically meeting and holding our granddaughter in our arms.
I learned a little more about heartfelt reactions this morning as I continue to study from Colossians chapter three. Verse thirteen in the God’s Word © translation tells us to “Put up with each other.” I have to laugh every time I think about the simple bluntness and truth of that statement. It reminds me of the many opportunities I have had over the last few years to quietly roll my eyes and hold my tongue when individuals have made some completely unsubstantiated or one might even say ignorant comments concerning my wife’s situation, be it their answer for her needs, their thoughts on what they think we may, may not or should be doing about it or their telling me about some “new research” they’ve just read about… that I had already told them about in the previous months!
But as I studied out a couple of the words in verses 12 & 13, I began to see that I had missed the crux of the thought that the Apostle was trying to convey to his readers. In Colossians 3:12 we are told to “be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle and patient.” (God’s Word ©) Another older translation says to “Put on… bowels of” these Christian characteristics. (KJV) The word “bowels” in the original language was used to define “the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love – but by the Hebrews as the seat of tenderer affections, especially kindness, benevolence and compassion.” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions)
Instead of bluntly telling us to “Put up with each other” the King James Version begins the next verse saying: “Forbearing one another…” It is interesting to note that the meaning of “forbearing” is “to hold oneself up against another or to put up with.” (Strong’s) The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges further explains that “The life of Christian patience has beneath it the living secret of love, the effect and reflection of the love of Christ.” The People’s New Testament simply states: “Christ is (to be) our example”
So when you combine the actions of “putting on bowels of mercy” and “forbearing one another” according to the original purpose of those activities, one sees that it is actually opposite to my inner smirk and the rolling of my eyes, but entails an immediate yielding of the heartfelt passion of Christ’s love inside of you to those who might not be saying or doing the nicest things toward you!
And let me tell you… I’m learning through my many actual experiences of late, that this is NOT an easy thing to do! It not only takes a lot of time in God’s Word, but also a lot of time in allowing that Word to become a part of you – to allow that Word to become second nature to you so that it is what instantly pops out when the attacks come… and believe me… they will come! One thing about the enemy of our souls is that he is good at his job… and he’ll use whatever or WHOEVER he can to come against us!
The exciting part about this subject is that however good he may be though, we – with Christ actively residing and reigning in us - are far better… far stronger! No matter how much your natural side may want to strike out to those who offend us, the power of Christ’s passionate, heartfelt love working in and through us is the best weapon we have in our spiritual arsenal!
So, I’m learning not to be so quick to roll my eyes at the statements of others, but to pause, take a deep breath and allow the love of Christ fill me up and then flow out to those around me! How about you? Have a great day. Stay in tine to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s ways am I expecting to flow with today?”