“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
Traveling from one place to another takes a toll. Jet lag and airport hassles, plane delays and weather interruptions – it can add up to an acute case of being plain worn out. The suitcase never arrived or got highjacked along the way. Your clothes arrived disheveled, and your body is having withdrawals to the time change. Strange food and strange beds, pillows that don’t seem to work just right. A potential headache in the making at every turn.
Apparently, getting from one place to another in our character development comes at a cost, too.
Learning humility is a painful procedure. Pieces of our pride shredded to bits and left on the runway are tough to navigate. Necessary but not easy, ever. If we do not choose humility, the Lord will break down the proud portions of our lives. As Philip Yancey describes, “We’re concerned with how things will turn out while God is more concerned with how we will turn out.” Humility has always been important to Christ. He wants it to be important to us as well.
If we want to be people with hearts of forgiveness, the Lord will allow situations to enter our lives where we have to put that fine art into practice. Disappointments bump against us and we want to run toward resentment. People hurt us, our defenses flare up, and we justify our anger as rightfully earned. The movement toward forgiveness comes with a high price – the compassionate father stretching out his arms to welcome back his prodigal son paid a high price, too.
To become more courageous and far less timid, the Lord might allow us to face fearful situations, places we never would choose on our own. We recoil from that duffle bag packed with difficult circumstances that he extends in our direction. We’d rather transport lightweight cares, and yet our Father knows that our souls prosper when we are placed outside our comfort zones. That’s simply where we realize how insufficient we truly are and how perfectly sufficient he is.
This just might be the best place we could possibly be as we make our way to more closely reflecting the Lord we have been called to follow, imitate and serve.
Elizabeth A Mitchell
“And he kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people.” (Luke 9:16 NAS) Such a familiar narrative, this feeding of five thousand hungry men and their needy families perched on a mountainside while they listened to Christ’s every...