So how are you feeling? How does your "wardrobe" measure up to what we've been learning? You know one of the awesome things about God? He will help you, all you have to do is ask. So regardless of how you have been doing you can always ask for His help and watch how things turn around. Isn't that great?
Well, let's continue...
Short definition for this one -- fairness, moderation; mild, gentle.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
I like that! Rest for your soul, right there in our Lord. Oh in our mad-dash world where there is always noise, information and too much to do, isn't nice to know there is a way to shut it all out?
Now let's look at it this same concept through the lens of what we are to clothe ourselves in.
Gentleness. What does that look like to you? To me, it is that mild, kind person who does not contribute to the chaos of your life, mind or day. Take it one step further and that gentleness can echo God's promised rest into other people's lives. Don't we all need that? Those friends and family members that are our soft place to fall. Folks, if we wrap ourselves in these Christ-like qualities we become that soft place for people...that soft place where God can meet them, either repeatedly or the first time!
Just like when we talked about Jesus being the embodiment of kindness you could say the same thing here. The way He treated and associated withe the outcasts, the broken, the sinners was always gentle. There is another great example of Christ exhibiting his gentleness in the Garden of Genthesmane. Judas and his mob have arrived, Jesus has been seized and swords have been drawn (oh yea, there's an ear to be healed now too). What does Jesus say? "Put your sword away...do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:52, 53) In order for the Scriptures to be fulfilled Jesus had to press on toward the cross. And in that moment He chose gentleness -- no swords, no legions of angels, no fighting, arguing or running -- just the King of Kings freeing His people.
Being the mother of two small children I am familiar with my lack of patience and my almost constant prayer for God to pour His into me. I chuckle as I think of a friend telling me that when you pray for patience God sends you circumstances to help you grown your patience. Hmmm...perhaps I should quit asking God for more? HA!
Okay, how about a definition? Patience is the quality of being patient (my freshman English teacher told me you could never use any form of the word in the definition,wonder how come the dictionary writers were never taught that?), as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like.
Did you catch that? Patience is not only not losing your temper or getting annoyed it is handling the circumstances that bring you there without complaining. Hmmm...without complaint? Another area for me to work on. There are times that I am awful, I mean awful about grumbling in my head. The woe is me tape runs over and over and allows me to tell the thin air how hard I have it! Ever have that trouble?
God describes His chosen servant.
He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. Matthew 12:19
And think of all the times He had his patience tested (and we're just talking about while He walked this earth for now) -- the disciples and their unbelief, inability to follow directions, the repeatedly hardness of their hearts (and heads!), the crowds that pressed in all sides, the people that went out and told all they had seen (when they were told not to), the sin on all sides, the constant dogging of the Pharisees...the list goes on and on. And yet, He was patient.
Friend, I don't know what your life or faith looks like in practice but I can promise you my is fraught with holes of unbelief, sin, anger, hard-heartedness and so much more. And how patient is my Father, that every morning I'm allowed to start over, that despite the potholes of my faith I may still approach the throne boldly! Whew! Boggles my mind.
Do you ever watch What Not to Wear on TLC? Well, for those who haven't let me bring you up to speed. It is a show where two fashion experts (Stacy London and Clinton Kelly) ambush an unsuspecting fashion victim with the help of friends and family. The poor nationally humiliated victim then is invited to NYC to learn how to dress themselves and a $5000 shopping spree in exchange for the continued embarrassment in surrendering their wardrobe and being torn apart in a few trips to the 360 degree mirror. At the end of the show they have a new wardrobe, new hairstyle, better make up tips and they return home a new and improved version of themselves (at least while the cameras are still on them).
Well, that was the long way around the barn to tell you I now feel like I've been on God's What Not to Wear. I've got my rules -- patience, gentleness, humility, kindness, and compassion. Stay away from clothing myself in things I don't find Christ wearing on the pages of the latest issue of the Good Book. And whether the blog cameras are rolling (or typing?) or not, I will strive to maintain my new and improved look -- because while people might not ask "Who Are You Wearing?", they will see how dressed me (and made me).