“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away… And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity. (1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)
This will be our first of many devotionals on the events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In every example, we will be seeing Christ giving of Himself for the benefit of others... Christ’s Life:
The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Patience (To Be Long Tempered)
Christ’s life on earth was a continuing display of love on behalf of all mankind. One of the ways He showed His love was through being very long-tempered in His dealings with those who were living lives in opposition to Him. Let’s notice two (of many) events in His life that showed a clear withholding of wrath towards those who were rebellious and seeking His harm:
1. Let’s take a look at what Christ said to the rebellious nation of Israel that refused to accept the message of His prophets concerning His identity and work… “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen [doth gather] her brood under [her] wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34)
Although the Israelites had rejected His messengers and sought to kill them, now that He has come to live among them, He was still long-tempered in waiting to bring them to Himself, grant them deliverance from their sins and grace them with an eternal relationship with Him. The only need on their part was to repent of their sinful works and attitudes and turn to Christ in faith. But what was their response to this? “ye would not”. They willfully continued to rebel and reject Him and His works among them.
Folks, what great love, Christ waited for them to acknowledge the truth of His prophets. He patiently went the “extra mile” by actually coming to the earth to live with them and prove the prophets’ message about Him was true. As He lived among them, was rejected again and again and then was falsely accused, put on trial, and put to death by these same men (Matt 21:33-41). In spite of it all, on the cross He gave the ultimate display of controlled temper when He prayed “Father forgive them that they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)” What great love revealed through the patient withholding of Christ’s temper, anger and wrath.
2. There was another great display of Christ withholding His temper during His life on earth. In this case, He held His temper in the midst of temptation… “And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.” (Mark 1:12-13)
In this case, Christ patiently went through forty days of fasting and then stood by and allowed Satan, himself, to tempt Him. Please keep in mind, Christ could have easily sent Satan away at any time, but He held back His temper and allowed Satan to continue with his enticements. Why did Christ do this? He did this for us. This was done so that we would have a perfect example of faithfulness in the midst of trials and so that we could come before Him, seeking His grace, and knowing that He has shared in the same temptations as ourselves (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Our Lesson To Be Learned:
Folks, there are many times when we are faced with situations that seem to beg us to lose our tempers and show vengeance towards others. It is during these times that we have a wonderful opportunity set before us to display Christ’s love in our lives. In both examples, we could see that Christ’s wrath WOULD HAVE BEEN DESERVED BY HIS ANTAGONIZERS (Jews and Satan). And yet, He chose to withhold the wrath that was deserved. Oh how we can learn a very important lesson… even when it seems as if our opposition deserves our hatred, wrath and outburst of anger, to truly live as Christ lived, we are to patiently show them mercy, grace and love.
May we all take the following passage very seriously and ALWAYS seek to live our lives displaying love for Christ and others through the patient holding of our tempers…
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:21-24)
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