This week, we’re thrilled to feature “The Twelve STAYS of Christmas” rather than the “The Twelve DAYS of Christmas.” Our very own LauraLee Shaw has written this little guide, inspired by the popular Christmas carol, to guide YOU through this harried holiday season. Today we’re featuring an excerpt from the book and if you comment on ANY COUNTER ARTICLE or on THIS DEVOTIONAL, you’ll have a chance to receive one of FOUR copies that Laura Lee is offering. Leave us a comment here letting us know how you hope to “change” this Christmas season, or comment on a Ministry, Family or Marriage Counter article and you’ll be entered automatically!
On the 3rd STAY of Christmas, the Proverbs guided me…
to deal with others patiently…
“Better a patient man than a warrior,
a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.”
* STAY PATIENT *
In the spirit of staying cheerful and friendly, occasionally situations will arise that offend us to the core of our being. It is at these times we will need to call upon the Lord for patience. If we ask Him, He will help us to be slow to anger when we are insulted. Proverbs puts it this way:
12:16—“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”
20:3—“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”
29:11—“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
Can you see me squirming? These verses prod at my heart, because the contents expose some of my weaknesses. A good majority of us can get offended quite easily (crooked finger pointed directly at me).
The uncomfortable part is that change always starts with us seeing ourselves from the Lord’s perspective. If we could zoom in and take a look at our own hearts, we could see that patience starts with the Lord changing us. We must take the first step and ask Him to help us do so.
Staying patient and cheerful in a crowd is one thing, but enduring those close to us is a whole other matter indeed. In this situation, one of the keys to patience is being quick to forgive. Isn’t it true that often times we “lose it” because we’ve built up past wrongs without forgiving? I’m truly thankful that the Lord doesn’t treat us in the same manner. His heart is for us to forgive as He has forgiven us, and the Proverbs back up the wisdom behind it:
19:11—“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
20:22—“Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you.”
Christmas is all about how Jesus came into this world as a living human to save us from our sins. Without forgiveness for others, we’ve totally missed the message, and therefore we miss the opportunity to be Jesus to others. Being quick to forgive is a major way that we can minister to a lost, unhappy world at a time that is meant to be full of hope and joy.
Can we take the challenge to STAY patient this year? Let’s give the Lord our expectations, as well as our pride, and let Him work in us His spirit of forgiveness.
“Father, we thank You for not treating us as our sins deserve–for being patient and forgiving of us. Help us to be like You in our dealings with others–slow to anger and quick to forgive those that hurt us. You are the only One who can bring this about in us, so we beg You to do so…and once again, may You receive the glory. Amen.”