Pleasing to the Lord

            Pleasing to the Lord ~ Devotional Study

What pleases God?   Ever think about that in depth?   I have.   And found that the list is vast, never ending because the Lord is gracious, His love is never ending.  If we have positioned ourselves to live and love righteously, He then takes great delight in the who, the where, the why and all the how’s of our lives.  He is pleased in our doing  and our not doing.  But most of all it is our ‘being’ in Him, that sets His face to shine on us.

A few weeks ago, the Lord put His finger on an area, that clearly describes one aspect that truly pleases Him.  I was researching for a class I am teaching on in-depth study methods and came across this verse, that so intrigued me, I sat on it for a very long time.   ‘we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way…’  (Col. 1:10)   The verse goes on to say ‘bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God’… this pleases Him.  Then Paul proceeds with verse 11, ‘being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might.’  Power and might for what?   ‘So that you may have great endurance and patience…’ Hm… endurance and patience pleases the Lord.   This is where I camped out for about 3 weeks.  Endurance and patience, who could use more of that?  My hand is raised, yet after this study I willingly raise both hands with great desperation.

 

How many of us have eagerly prayed for patience, only to find that the Lord is faithful to grant even more opportunities to grow in that attribute.  May I say, ‘are we totally NUTS what were we thinking!’ (just kidding).  To invite moments that cause stretching of character is NOT fun, even painful at times.

Endurance and patience have other words used to describe them in various translations, such as perseverance, longsuffering, and forbearance.  Often these words seem to be interchangeable, but according to the Greek rendering they are distinctly different.

We will look at them individually and discern their differences.  In doing so, we will stand fully blessed  (just as Paul prays) that the Lord graciously enables us with His power and might to operate them in our lives.  It HAS to be the Holy Spirit, because it is beyond us.

Now put on your thinking caps, we are going to get ‘geeky’ for a moment, but bare with me…

First, endurance.  The Greek word is ‘hupomone’ (hoop-o-mone-a)  the English wording is patience, perseverance, and endurance.  It is a bearing up and remaining under.   It has the word picture of sustaining.    Staying where you are, regardless of the pain, uncertainty, even misery, (are we having fun yet?)   It is one’s response to circumstances, in the face of difficulty.  (Please note: I am not talking about staying when in danger)

Endurance  is coupled with hope.  Hope in knowing that there is something on the other side of my situation waiting for me, and it is good, and of God.

* Romans 12:12 ‘Be joyful in hope, patient (hupomone)
   in affliction,  faithful in prayer’.

* I Corinthians 13 ~  the love chapter … verse 7, ‘It
  (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, 
  always perseveres (hupomone). 
 

I find it completely convicting (to be oh so personal) what I found to be ‘opposite’ of the God desired quality of endurance.  ‘To forsake, to let go, to abandon, and to leave behind.’  It is giving up, not allowing the ‘staying power’ of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us.

Godly perseverance is the ability to walk in,  through and out the other side of a situation, without the situation affecting us in a way that does NOT bring glory to God.  It is an overcoming quality.

 Remember Paul’s words ‘growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience.’   This knowing is ‘epignosis’ (sounds like a very rare disease) which means to walk in full discernment.  Now hang in there with me!  It is having an intimate knowledge of Him, that in the situation you are in, you can fully discern, knowing His heart and mind.  Thus allow Him to guide, direct and empower ~ so that you may have great endurance.

Phew!  I’m worn out now.  But we’re not finished yet.  Now we tackle ‘patience’. 

Patience, ‘makrothymia’ (mak-ro-thu-mee-ah)  I just love this word,  kind of rolls off your tongue doesn’t it.    It’s meaning?   To be long-spirited.  As endurance is one’s response to circumstances,  patience  is our response to  people. 

This is where the rubber meets the road.  Buckle up. 
Longsuffering is the quality of the Holy Spirit,  that allows us to be around and live with (cover your eyes) potentially difficult people.  Even though they may rub us the wrong way, irritate us, or have hurt us,  our response to them (both in our heart and externally – I know – ouch!) is kindness, and extending mercy.

The opposite to patience with people is fierceness, short and small, it is treating a person ‘less’ than what God intends. 

Patience is found in the listing of the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.  Fruit is singular, meaning, we can’t pick and choose which ones we want, it is a packaged deal.

 ‘… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
 kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and
 self-control …’

Patience is coupled with kindness, we look again at the love chapter 1 Cor. 13  verse 4, ‘Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.’  Kindness has the flavor of ‘showing oneself useful’.  So, if we are not kind, we then are a hindrance to the person or the moment.  Eeeeww !

All the different forms of this patience, translated in the various English words as longsuffering, and forbearance come from a compound word … makrothymos.    Makros , which is unceasing, and thumos,  (here’s the clincher…)  ‘passion’ …  ‘unceasing passion’.  As one resource put it, it has the punch of … ‘forced acceptance’. 

‘It is having the ability to avenge oneself yet
refrains from doing so.   In the most extreme
usage of the word, it has the tension of grace
and wrath.’ [Theological Dictionary of the N.T.]

We see this in Matthew 18:23-35 

This is the parable of the unmerciful servant,  (I paraphrase) a king wants to settle up his accounts with those whom owe him money, he seeks out a gentleman that owes him a large amount,  since the man could not pay, he orders him and his family to be thrown in prison, the man falls down and pleads that the king be ‘patient’ with him, the king took pity on him and let him go, extending him mercy and forgiveness.   But when the same man, comes across another who owes him money, he is unkind and demands he pay… this other man too falls down and pleads, but the man forgiven by the king, becomes violent, and has him thrown in prison.  Word gets back to the king, and called the man to him.  He says, ‘I canceled your debts yet you turn around and treat someone like this.’  He was then thrown in prison until he could pay his original debt.

This story is of mercy ~ forgiveness and patience.   Think how patient Jesus has been with YOU!  Ok, pick yourself up off the floor, brush yourself off.  Yes, we too need to extend patience, kindness and forgiveness to others.

Colossians 3:12-13  (NIV)

‘Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy
 and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with
 compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness
 and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive
 whatever grievances you may have against one
 another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

God is pleased when…

 we bear fruit in every good work, grow
 in the knowledge of Him,  strengthened with
 all power according to His glorious might  having
great endurance and patience..’

Patience and endurance ~ loving people way beyond our own ability, allowing mercy to flow from us.  it is living in the moment, bearing up under the situation, having hope and knowing that the ‘staying power’  comes from God and the outcome will in turn bring Him glory.

Have a God-loving,  treating the moment and the people as would please God.

In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD!)

Resources:   The Complete Word Study Dictionary, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words, The Strong’s Concordance, Theological Dictionary of the N.T.

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