Cultivating The Fruit Of Patience and Kindness
2 Timothy 3:10-17
Patience–Never Giving In To Despair!
Another fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is Patience. Patience is one of the many rich dimensions of Love. Patience is love which can wait without despair and which can endure without resentment. We must look at both of these descriptions during the next few days.
The man of patience is the man whose spirit does not give in to despair. It is God's patience which breeds man's patience. God's patience is seen in His longsuffering with the sinful human race. Paul declared that he received mercy from God as an example of God's perfect patience (1 Timothy 1:16). "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9, NIV)
Patterned after the patience of God, the Spirit-controlled person keeps on hoping, believing, and working with people, regardless of the odds and the obstacles, and the oppositions. Patience means persistence in loving people, regardless of human obstinacy and regardless of despairing circumstances.
Growth in love is growth in patience. To love truly means to wait persistently. Patience with sinners until they respond to God's call of repentance. Patience with believers until the slow growing fruit of the Spirit is evident in their lives. Patience with the Church until God's sanctifying power removes the spots and the stains and the wrinkles in it's corporate life. Patience with God's patience with an unbelieving world which seems bent on self-destruction.
Love can wait on God and can wait on people, and while waiting, work persistently as God's tool of redemption. Notes E. W. Sangster: "The saint never gives up. He goes on serving, loving, helping. . .He aches for souls. Neither indifference, nor slander, nor injury can stop him. He does not make a motive of gratitude. His great motive is his utter love of God". (Daily Readings, p. 134)
The Christian must cultivate the fruit of patience in his life if he is to work effectively with people. The believer need not lose hope or faith in people, for he knows that God is constantly working to perfect His good work of grace in people's lives. Because all believers are merely 'Christians in the making', progressively changing to become more like Christ, the man of God can be patient with those with whom he lives and works. 'Be patient, God is not finished with me yet' is a good motto for all believers to personalize.
Every shepherd of the flock of God is to practice patience with his people and persistence in his love, being faithful to the sheep during times of sickness as well as during times of health, during times of danger as well as during times of safety. He never grows tired in caring for his sheep, for he is patiently and lovingly dedicated to his sheep (John 10:12-13).
"Dear Lord, help me to believe in people, looking beyond what they are to what they can become in Christ! As you have suffered long with me, help me to be longsuffering with others. Help me to breathe faith into the faithless and love into the loveless."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Because God has never given up on me, I must never give up on anyone else!
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Ephesians 4:2-3, Ephesians 4:31-32
Patience With People
Patience is a distinctively Christian trait, resulting from being controlled by the Holy Spirit. We said yesterday that the man of patience is the man whose spirit does not give in to despair with people.
John Wesley spoke to this need for a steadfast spirit which will never give in to despair. "You that are diligent in this labour of love, see that you be not discouraged, although, after you have used your best endeavours, you should see no present fruit. You have need of patience, and then, 'after ye have done the will of God' herein, the harvest will come. Never be 'weary of well-doing; in due time ye shall reap, if ye faint not'. Copy after Abraham, who 'against hope, still believed in hope. Cast thy bread upon the water, and after many days thou shalt find it again'." (Twenty Centuries of Great Preaching, vol. 3, p. 34)
An old saint of God for years wrote me almost monthly, and the recurring phrase of exhortation in her letters was: "Keep on keeping on!" One can wait patiently without falling into despair, if he believes that God is faithful to His promises. Because Abraham believed in God's faithful character, he 'patiently endured'. In the end, the promise was fulfilled.
One can work patiently with people if he is committed to Christ's unchangeable love. The question has been asked of some faithful Christians, "How can you work, decade after decade, with people who are so changeable, without despairing?" In answering that honest question, let it be honestly acknowledged that the temptation to despair is a real and recurring temptation to any Christian leader who is deeply involved with helping people. Any Christian leader who works long and closely with people knows how changeable and unpredictable human nature can be. The ever-present temptation to despair is best countered through commitment to Christ's unchangeableness and integrity. Christ promised to build His Church, and therefore not even the gates of hell can prevail against His Church. Christ promised to cleanse and to perfect and to sanctify His Church, and therefore not even the faithlessness and sinfulness of man can destroy God's purpose for His Church. (Ephesians 5:25-27) Because Christ believes in the Church, and because Christ has declared that the Church will endure and grow (in spite of problems within and without), the Christian leader can remain patient with people and can work without despair to build the Kingdom of God.
To be patient with people means to like people, to make allowances for people's faults (Ephesians 4:2-3), to be tenderhearted and forgiving (Ephesians 4:31-32), and to patiently believe in imperfect people.
"Father, I confess that I desire to be known as a fruitful, successful worker in your spiritual vineyard. Cleanse me from my inordinate desires to be 'successful', and help me instead to be faithful to your divine call to love people, regardless of the visible results of such loving. In Jesus' name. Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Love never fails, so when I truly love people 'in the Spirit', I am always successful, regardless of the tangible results of such loving!
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1 Corinthians 15:58, Galatians 6:9-10
Love Which Never Gives Up!
Patience is that Spirit-cultivated quality in the life of the earnest Christian which enables him never to give up in his care for people, regardless of the imperfections in saints or the outright oppositions of sinners.
"There are the 'perfectionists' who are always tense and anxious about their own imperfections and the imperfections of others. .They cannot get along with themselves or with others. They are demanding the impossible and getting the possible–with disappointment!
"Jesus was patient with and hopeful for the weak and the faltering and the sinful. And yet he did not compromise with and accommodate himself to their imperfections and sins, for he held them to victory and not defeat, perfection not imperfection–and led them to it!
"That was what I needed: someone who would accept me with all my imperfections and yet hold me to perfection. . I could be imperfect and accepted as such by my Redeemer, but I could be held to perfection by my Redeemer whose grace would be set to work at producing it. And this subsidiary note: I would treat others as Christ treats me. I would accept them as they are but expect them into expectancy, hope them into hope of being different, believe them into believing they could grow up to the crown I am holding above their heads. I would be able to live with my imperfect self without chafing and to work with imperfect colleagues without discouragement or without losing my temper." (A Song of Ascents, p. 39-40; E. S. Jones)
If there is need to accept people in spite of their imperfections, there is even a greater need patiently to love people in spite of their sins. "God gave this mighty love to Catherine Booth. Even as a girl, she said that she was willing to die for her father's salvation. .She said that the all- absorbing question of her husband's life (and it was no less true of herself) was how best to reach and save the masses. Many a time she cried, 'a! the value of souls! They are worth all the trouble and sacrifice involved–yea, a thousand times over'… Or consider the life of John Woolman, the Quaker saint. His biographer says: 'The keynote of his message was always and ever love. Love to God and love to man. This single note runs through his life and writings like a silver thread'. It was still true of him when he came to die. On his deathbed he had no pre-occupation about heaven: no mention of crowns, harps, raptures 'but the same tender and touching concern for suffering humanity, relieved only by the thought of the paternity of God, and His love and omnipotence'." (Daily Readings, p. 134; Sangster)
"Father, fill me with so much of your love that I will see the saint in every sinner, and love each sinner with the very persistence of divine like love. May love be the single note that runs through my life. In Jesus' name. Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: My goal for life: To condemn no sinner, to condone no sin, to love all unconditionally and persistently!
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Matthew 5:38-48, Romans 12:17-21
Love Never Gives Way To Vengeance
Christian patience is not only the spirit which will not give in to despair with people, but further, it is the spirit which will never give way to vengeance. Christian patience has been defined as the spirit which could take revenge if it liked, but utterly refuses to do so. Patience is that spirit which will never retaliate. In Christian thought, the big man is not the man of vengeance, but the man of forgiveness. The violence of our Western culture is in direct violation to the Christian quality of patience. In secular culture, might is right. The prize goes to the strongest. The big man is defined as the man who goes all out for vengeance. The mighty man–the man of importance–is the man who tolerates no insult or injury.
The Bible says that the truly great man is the man who is possessed of love. He returns good for evil. He refuses to reap vengeance upon his persecutors, even though he could. To simply illustrate, have you ever seen a big dog harassed by a small dog? The big dog takes the harassment patiently, even though the big dog has within his power the ability to tear up the little dog.
God's loving, forbearing, forgiving, patient attitude toward sinful mankind is the attitude which every believer is to reproduce in his life. "If God had been a man He would have taken His hand and wiped out this world long ago; but God has that patience which bears with all our sinning and which will not cast us off." (Daily Study Bible, Galatians, p. 56; Barclay)
God delayed His judgment many times throughout history, providing opportunity for men to repent of their sins. God loves the loveless; He suffers long with unregenerate man. "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy." (Psalms 103:8) God waited 120 years before sending the flood, to allow Noah's generation to repent. God suffered long in giving Sodom and Gomorrah opportunity to repent. He would have saved those cities if only ten righteous souls could have been found (Genesis 18). God spared the ancient pagan city of Nineveh from destruction when the inhabitants repented of their sins under the powerful preaching of Jonah. Romans 2:4 talks about God's great patience with sinful mankind. "Don't you realize how patient he is being with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to run from your s in? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance." (Romans 2:4, Living Bible)
When Jesus' disciples were rejected in a certain Samaritan town, they wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume the inhabitants, but Jesus said that their spirit of vengeance was very wrong. Jesus suffered long with even those who rejected Him. Jeremiah suffered in unbelievable ways because of persecutors who rejected his prophesies. He was called the 'weeping prophet'. Are we able to weep over the lost rather than impatiently reject them?
"Help me to weep over the erring ones, to lift up the fallen, to tell them of Jesus the Mighty to save! Help me to bear with the insults of the ungrateful and to love the loveless for Jesus' sake."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: When my patience grows thin with people, I will take a closer look at the eyes of Jesus!
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2 Peter 3:1-18
Motivation For Patience
We have spent several days describing the Biblical meaning of Patience. Patience, we have said, is that steadfast spirit which will never give in to despair. Further, it is that loving spirit which will never give way to vengeance. We must now look at the motivation for practicing such patience.
First, God's longsuffering with sinful mankind is our strongest motivation to practice patience with people. One great preacher said that if God has any 'weakness', it is His great mercy. God patiently spares His wrath and extends His mercy, calling men and nations to repentance. Even with those who refuse to repent and who finally perish, the Bible says that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:32). Notes the great preacher Charles Finney, concerning the patience of God with sinners: "God never frets–is never impatient. His love is so deep and so great that He is always patient. Sometimes, when parents have unfortunate children–poor objects of compassion–they can bear with anything from them; but when they are very wicked, they seem to feel that they are quite excusable for being impatient. In God's case, these are not unfortunate children, but are intensely wicked–intelligently wicked. But oh, His amazing patience–so set upon their good, so desirous of their highest welfare, that however they abuse Him, He sets himself to bless them still, and weep them down, and melt them into penitence and love, by the death of His Son in their stead." (Twenty Centuries of Great Preaching, vol. 3, p. 334)
Second, the believer is motivated to remain patient with people because he is convinced that God's power is great to change human nature. Confidence in God's power to transform human nature, both instantaneously and gradually, gives a basis for patience in working with people. God is willing patiently to work with people in order to produce change, and therefore we too can learn to be patient with people while they are changing.
Third, God's ultimate triumph over all evil is our motivation to practice patience. The believer can be patient with people–both the righteous and the unrighteous–for he knows that God will have the final word at the end of time. Though wrong seems often so strong, God is Ruler yet. Though evil tries the souls of the righteous, the godly man can wait patiently upon God to bring judgment upon unchecked wrong and blessing upon unrewarded good. In the end, the wheat shall be separated from the tares. All wrong will be righted, all unrepented sin will be punished, and all the proud will be brought low. We need not fret ourselves because of evildoers (Psalms 37), for their certain end is destruction. All evil will be judged and Christ's righteousness will be vindicated. All knees shall someday bow before the Lord, and all tongues will confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord of lords (Philippians 2:10-11).
"Father, I see now that Patience is a divine enablement, not a human attainment, and yet I realize that I must cooperate with You in cultivating His spiritual grace in my life. Help me to surrender to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to control my life. Then I –even I –will be able to work with people without despair, to experience love without resentment, and to suffer without complaint."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: The fruit of patience is the fruit of holy love, produced by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I will not try harder to be patient, but I will trust more in the Holy Spirit who will produce patience with me.
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Matthew 25:31-45, Genesis 26:17-22
Kindness In Compassion Toward Others
"The Greeks defined this quality as the disposition of mind which thinks as much of its neighbor's affairs as it does of its own. Kindness is as concerned with the feelings of other people, as it is with its own feelings. It is as concerned with the sorrows, the struggles, the problems of other people, as it is with its own. Kindness has learned the secret of looking outwards all the time, and not inwards." (Daily Study Bible, Ephesians, p. 189; Barclay)
Notes William Sangster, "…if the professing followers of Christ are more concerned to maintain their own standard of living (four meals a day, cars, TV, etc.) than to serve a second meal a day for the hungry multitudes of the East… how hard it is for despised and suffering people to believe in Christianity at all. Talk of 'abundant' life sounds like a cruel joke, and the offer of 'salvation' smells of hypocrisy". (Daily Readings, p. 243)
Kindness always begins in the home, perhaps one of the more difficult places consistently to practice kindness. Kindness in common courtesies, kindness through a smile, kindness in a sincere compliment, kindness in a kind act or a secret prayer. Kindness can be demonstrated every day in the home.
A personal friend of mine, a godly woman in her 80' s shared with me recently a personal secret from her past life, that illustrates this selfless spirit of kindness in the home. She had the misfortune of a divorce early in her life, and consequently had to raise her children by herself, which was very difficult financially. She struggled even to have enough food to place on the table for her growing children. She shared with me that many days she herself would go without food in order to make it possible to feed her children. Her children, she said, never realized that many times she would eat only one meal a day in order to have more food for them.
Here is an illustration of motherly kindness, a kindness that involved sacrifice and love. Kindness means "the quality which thinks far more of others than of itself… the sweetness of temper which puts others at ease and shrinks from giving pain." (Daily Study Bible, II Corinthians, p. 216; Barclay)
The classic illustration of kindness is recorded in Genesis 26:17-22. Here is found the account of Isaac's willingness to give another his dug wells, rather than justly disputing over the wells which rightfully belonged to him. No spirit of fighting for personal rights, but rather a surrender of rights, allowing others the advantage. Seeking the welfare of theirs rather than one's own welfare! Seeking to live at peace with others, if at all possible, even if this means giving up personal rights! Kindness thinks more of others than it thinks of itself.
"Spirit of the Living God, I ask you to daily cultivate in me your noble fruit of kindness. Help me to be concerned with the feelings of others, and reach out a helping hand to meet the practical needs of others. Deliver me from mere sentimentality, and enable me to be concrete in expressions of love. In the compassionate name of Jesus, I make these requests. Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Christianity that does not work itself out in deeds, is like a bell that is never rung and like a song that is never sung.
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Kindness In Expectation Of Others
Jesus said, "My yoke is easy (chrestos–kindly) and my burden is light". (Matthew 11:30) The word translated 'easy' is the same word which can be translated 'good', 'pleasant', 'kindly'.
"The yoke was tailor-made to fit the ox. . .What Jesus says is, 'The life I give you to live is not a burden to gall you; your task, your life, is made to measure to fit you'. Whatever God sends to us is made to fit our needs and our abilities exactly; God has a task for everyone of us, which is made to measure for us." (Daily Study Bible, Matthew, vol. 2, p. 19; Barclay)
Jesus' yoke is a kind yoke, i. e., it fits us perfectly. Jesus has a yoke for everyone. It is this work–yoke–which gives dignity to each person. "No matter how despised a person or creature may be, Christ has a use for him . . . No matter how ordinary, ill-educated, disfigured, ill-born, one-talented or obscure a man or woman may be, Christ has a use for them, and He gives them dignity by that use." (Daily Readings, p. 85; Sangster)
Applying the kindness of Jesus to our own lives, the truly kind person will allow his fellowmen to be yoked by God for service, not yoked by man's ideas. Kindness is having realistic expectations for others. Kindness means allowing others the liberty to be the self which God created them to be and to do the work–i. e., wear the yoke–which God has designed for them to do, without forcing one's own preconceived molds upon others.
Apply this definition of kindness in the home of human relationships. "Joe Senior is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Yale Law School. Joe Junior is seventeen. Joe Senior's dream is that Joe Junior will work into his law firm. There's only one problem: Joe Junior has no apparent apptitude for law. In fact, he has very little inclination toward academic pursuits of any kind. Joe Senior constantly rides him, trying to motivate him to academic excellence. He has used pressure, insult, compliment, and even bribery to achieve his goal, but nothing works.
"On the other hand Joe Junior has a special talent. He can lift the hood of a car, take the engine apart, and put it back together again. He's a brilliant mechanic, but never once has Joe Senior given him recognition for his abilities. In his own way this young man is gifted–gifted by God!" (Becoming A Whole Family, p. 73; Huffman)
To be kind is not to force unrealistic expectations upon others, or to force the yoke upon others which does not fit another's aptitudes or abilities or God-given gifts. Being kind to one another means accepting each other for the unique self which God has created in each person.
"Father, help me never to impose my own convictions, notions, or expectations upon others, but instead, help me to accept each person as a unique creation, with unique contributions to make in your wonderful world."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Christ's yoke is my yearning, for I am only happy when I am wearing His yoke.
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Kindness In Treatment Of Others
There is a type of Christianity which is critical and harsh and legalistic. As in Jesus' day, there are still religious people who are adept at manifesting a rough spirit, all in the name of morality and justice. Such people would never offer a shoulder for you to weep upon!
Make no mistake about it; there are times when love must be expressed in forms of discipline, as when Jesus drove out the moneychangers with whips! However, more times than not, it is not whips, but words of tenderness and forgiveness which Jesus used to draw people to the heart of God!
We must never lose our ability to be indignant with holy love, and we must be able to whip our will into a holy campaign against sin when the occasion demands it. But too many times we find it easier to identify with the critical, self-righteous crowd who wanted to stone the condemned adulterous woman, than we do to identify with the kind-hearted Christ who spoke words of love and forgiveness to the guilty woman. The crowds' stones would have broken her body, but Jesus' love broke her heart. "Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more." Those were the kind words. Here is the sweetness of Jesus' temper which put the woman at ease and which shrank back from causing her needless pain. The pain of her shame and guilt was enough to drive her to repentance. No need for the infliction of the cruel pain of a self-righteous judgment. Jesus' kindness healed the woman! The kindness of Jesus' followers will also heal the broken-hearted today!
There are still those professed followers of Jesus–followers in name rather than in spirit–who are more concerned about the letter of the law than about the spirit of the law, more concerned about justice than about mercy, more adept in inflicting pain than in applying the salve of healing.
It is true that there is no place for compromise with sin, but it is also true that there is no place for discourtesy with sinners. While hating sin intensely, let us love sinners tenderly, and treat sinners with that courtesy which befits the Christian gentleman.
God is kind. He is not harsh. He came not to condemn, but to save. He is only severe after his mercy and love are ultimately spurned. Whenever Jesus was severe with the Pharisees, it was only a form of kindness, a kindness that sought through drastic means to awaken the complacent and to induce him to repentance. As God is kind, so must Christians be kind. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
"Father, never allow me to mistake harshness for justice, or sentimentality for kindness. Help me to be kind to sinners without compromising truth, and instructive to the complacent without sacrificing kindness."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will seek to be kind without being morally soft, and disciplined without being morally rigid.
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The Winning Way Of Kindness!
I once read about a devout Christian who was riding on a train, sitting in a seat next to an unbeliever who was taking one drink of alcohol after another. The unbeliever asked the Christian if he would like to have a drink. "No thanks", replied the Christian. Before the unbeliever took his second drink, he asked the Christian if he would like to have a drink. Again, the Christian replied, "No thank you". A third time the unbeliever asked the Christian if he would like to have a drink, and again the Christian replied, "No thank you". Then the unbeliever said to the Christian, "You must think I am a terrible person". The kind-hearted Christian answered, "No, I didn't think you were a terrible person. As a matter of fact, I thought you were a friendly and generous person to offer me a drink three different times!"
This Christian could have proceeded to give the non-Christian a moral lecture on the evils of alcohol. He could have condemned the poor fellow. Criticism could have poured forth from the lips of the Christian. But instead, words of love and kindness and graciousness came from the Christian. Of course the believer was not condoning the fact of drinking alcohol, but neither was he critical and condemning of the person whose habit was harmful.
Jesus loved the sinner and was called 'a friend of publicans and sinners'. He accepted them unconditionally and His kindness won their hearts to God. More people are won to God through acts of kindness than by words of criticism. To criticize a man is to drive a man into self-justification and thus away from repentance and away from God. We hinder, not help, a man by becoming his judge. By becoming his judge, we stand in the place of God, who alone is Judge. The transgressor acknowledges wrong-doing in the quietness of personal contemplation or in the presence of a non-critical friend. Healing of the troubled or sinful person takes place, not in the atmosphere of criticism or self-righteousness, but in the atmosphere of mutual caring and sharing.
The kind person seeks to put others at ease, and always avoids inflicting needless pain upon others. This does not mean that wrong in others is denied or that sin is condoned. But the kind Christian is quick to see faults and sins in himself first, before pointing out sins in others. When the Christian is willing, according to James 5:16, to engage in self-incrimination, open sharing, and humble confession, then the wrong-doer will be motivated to do the same. Confession is contagious. It is the humble and kind and open person who will win the sinner for Christ!
Never be harsh, or bitter, or critical, or condemning. Have mercy. Be sweet in your spirit, never compromising with sin but also never treating the sinner roughly or discourteously. Provide a shoulder for hurting people to weep upon!
"Father, just as your kindness led me to repentance, use my Spirit-inspired kindness to lead the careless to you. Make my kindness robust and enduring, expressed with no appetite for praise and gratitude from men, but with a desire to reveal the kind heart of God to all."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will seek to treat all persons in the same way God treats me–kindly and mercifully!
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Cultivating The Fruit Of Patience And Kindness
Define and describe the Biblical concept of 'Patience'.
The believer who is seeking to cultivate the fruit of patience, is to exercise patience with whom? (List at least four different persons or groups of persons, and describe how Christlike 'patience' is expressed with each one of these four.)
Is the following description (by William Sangster) of the patience of a 'saint' too idealistic or is it realistic, considering the Bible's teachings and considering the 'possibilities of grace'?–"The saint never gives up. He goes on serving, loving, helping. .He aches for souls. Neither indifference, nor slander, nor injury can stop him. He does not make a motive of gratitude. His great motive is his utter love of God."
What considerations must a Christian worker keep in mind when he is working with 'fallible human beings' in order that he might not lose hope or faith in people or become embittered and cynical?
List some of the noble traits in the life of a good leader ('shepherd' of men's souls). (Note John 10:12-13.)
How does the example of Abraham provide motivation for a hard waking Christian to continue persistently to perform acts of loving service and witnessing, even though quick or visible results may not be forthcoming from such earnest efforts? (Note Galatians 6:9-10)
How does a Christian worker's commitment to Christ's unchangeable love help enable such a worker to work, decade after decade, with people who are so changeable, without despairing?
Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Love never fails, so when I truly love people 'in the Spirit' I am always successful, regardless of the tangible results of such loving!"
From a Biblical viewpoint, do you believe that the following statement accurately describes 'Patience'? "Patience is that Spirit-cultivated quality in the life of the earnest Christian which enables him never to give up in his care for people, regardless of the imperfections in saints or the outright oppositions of sinners."
Describe and define 'Perfectionists'.
With what attitude did Jesus, as a Man, relate to the weak and the faltering and the sinful person of his day? What is there about the model of Jesus, as He worked with faltering and sinful persons, that will help you, as a Christian worker, to live with your "imperfect self without chafing and to work with imperfect colleagues without discouragement or without losing your temper"?
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Cultivating The Fruit Of Patience And Kindness (Continued)
Is the following a worthy and Biblically-supportable goal for a believer to strive constantly to reach?–"To condemn no sinner, to condone no sin, to love all unconditionally and persistently."
What is the Christian concept, in contrast to the secular concept, of true 'Manliness', in terms of aggression, strength, and vengeance?
List several Biblical examples of the manifestations of God's patience and longsuffering with sinful mankind.
List several motivations for believers to practice Christian Patience.
Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "If the professing followers of Christ are more concerned to maintain their own standard of living (four meals a day, cars, TV, etc.) than to secure a second meal a day for the hungry multitudes of the East… how hard it is for despised and suffering people to believe in Christianity at all." Is exercise of the fruit of 'Kindness' in the life of a believer (in terms of showing compassion and practical concern for the poor) consistent with a luxurious lifestyle?
What are the characteristics of 'Kindness', as illustrated in Genesis 26:17-22?
Tell what is meant by the statement, "Jesus' yoke is a 'kind' yoke".
What is your personal response or reaction to the following description of 'Kindness' ?–"Kindness means allowing others the liberty to be the self which God created them to be and to do the work– i. e., wear the yoke–which God has designed for them to do, without forcing one's own preconceived molds upon others."
Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "There are still those professed followers of Jesus–followers in name rather than in spirit–who are more concerned about the letter of the law than about the spirit of the law, more concerned about justice than about mercy, more adept in inflicting pain than in applying the salve of healing".
What 'place' does the expression of Christian courtesy have in the life of a Spirit-filled, kindly-oriented believer? Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "It is true that there is no place for compromise with sin, but it is also true that there is no place for discourtesy with sinners".
In counseling a troubled or sinful person, why should a Christian counselor avoid appearing critical or harsh or judgmental towards the counselee? Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "To criticize a man is to drive a man into self-justification and thus away from repentance and away from God. Healing of the troubled or sinful person takes place, not in the atmosphere of criticism, but in the atmosphere of mutual caring and sharing and confession."
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