Enough Room For Everyone

Long-suffering means accepting the person as he or she is.

Scripture: Colossians 1:11, Ephesians 2:20


Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright today? Yes, this is your friend Dr. Cook and I’m glad to be back with you, glad to know that you’re there, listening, praying, and helping, and so grateful for the fellowship that God has given us through these many years.

We’re going through the book of Colossians, you and I, and we’re into verse 11, “Strengthened with all might according to His glorious power unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness”. We talked about the power of God and how it’s poured out into your life and mine through the Word of God and through the indwelling Holy Spirit. No need to burnout beloved when God’s power is available. “God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us”, Paul said in Ephesians 2:20. The Lord Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth, go ye therefore and teach all nations. Lo, I’m with you always”.

You have the Presence of the Savior, you have the Word of God- it’s quick, means you’re alive and powerful, “Sharper than any two edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit in the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. You’ve got the power of the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of the living Christ, “He ever liveth to make intersession for them that come into God by Him”, so He’s able to save to the uttermost. All of that is yours, beloved.

Somebody is listening to me and says, “I’m burned out, I’ve had it, it’s all over”. No, it’s not all over and you don’t have to be burned out. You can be renewed, “They the wait on the Lord shall renew their strength”, the Bible says, “they shall mount up with wings as eagles and they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint”. So power is yours for the taking by faith through the Lord Jesus Christ. Help yourself. Oh that’s great, isn’t it? His glorious power.

Now what’s the result of the power that God pours out in your life? Strange, you’d think it would be some kind of spiritual fireworks, wouldn’t you? Well, that oftentimes happens, the people who shout the loudest live the poorest, so far as spiritual life and accomplishment is concerned. Have you noticed that?

I think it was Everett Schellhammer, the old holiness preacher. Any of you holiness folk remember him? Old-timer, great holiness preacher. He said, “I don’t mind how high you jump, as long as you walk straight when you come down” I sort of adopted that saying years ago as my own, so when I found anybody who was demonstrably religious, you know shouting or jumping or or hand-waving or whatever it may be–and there’s nothing wrong with that mind you- when I found somebody who was demonstrably religious I would say, “Well I don’t mind how high you jump as long as you walk straight when you come down”. Our students at the college across the years got the point, you better live your faith. It’s not how loud you shout, it’s how straight you live that counts.

Anyhow, the proof of the power of God in your life so far as this verse is concerned shows up in being patient, “Unto all patience”. They use the word all. It’s easy for me to be patient with people whom I love. It’s easy for me to be patient in a situation where I know that by being patient I stand to gain, but it’s very difficult for me to be patient with people who are impossible to begin with and whom I dislike humanly speaking, or to be patient in a situation where there is no possible personal gain involved. Then it’s much more difficult, isn’t it? Oh yes.

That’s why Paul says, “All patience”. Not just some patience, not just patience with your loved ones and family and friends. Not just patience in situations where you stand to gain. Patience in all of the situations, some of which let us face it can be exceedingly trying. Patient.

It takes God’s power to keep you down, keep it from blowing up or giving up or caving in, as the case may be. It takes God’s power to keep you always patient. Well you say, “I can’t, I’m not that kind of a person, I blowup”. I remember a soprano one time who had a tantrum in my office because she hadn’t been given the top spot in some program or other, and when she had cooled down she said, “Well, that’s, I’m sorry I had a tantrum, it’s the way I am. I blow my top and then I get over it”. Well I said, “Some people don’t ever get over it, dear. You create a lot of scar tissue”, so we promoted her out. Oh, dear!

You say “I’m not that kind of a person. I’m creative, I’m volatile, I am artistic“ or whatever excuse you may currently be giving for impatience, you know we will have our alibis don’t we? I certainly have mine, but the point being, yes of course that may be true, what you’re saying, that you can’t, but the point is Jesus can and He lives within you, Christ in you, the hope of glory, is the secret of the Christian life, isn’t it? So why don’t you let Him handle it? See, that is the way to tap into the power of God. To let Him handle it. Say, “Lord, I can’t handle this. You take over”. When you do, oh what a blessing!

A friend of mine said he got in the backseat of his car while he and another friend were returning from a business trip. He said to his friend, “You take the wheel for a while I got some heavy thinking to do. So he got in the backseat of his car while his friend was driving on the return journey home from this convention and then said, “God, I can’t handle this, You take over”, and he said at that point the Lord did take over.

Oh, why don’t you do that today beloved? Aren’t you tired of trying and then alibi-ing? That’s been the way that so many of us of done it through the years. We try so hard and then when things don’t go the way they should’ve gone, we say, “Well God knows I tried”. Yes, of course you tried, but trying is not enough, is it? Because you get to the end of your human resources, you think, “If I have to go any farther I’ll break, I’ll snap, I’ll give up, I’ll kill myself, something will happen”, and you get so desperate. I know. Why don’t you try it the other way, beloved? Why don’t you turn the impossible situation over to God? All patience”, He said. It is possible for God to give you enough power to be patient in a situation that would be impossible, humanly speaking, otherwise.
I don’t know what your circumstances may be, and maybe you feel a little resentful, some of you this morning as I’m speaking about these things, because your saying, “Well Cook doesn’t know. He’s happy, everything is going Alright for him, you know and it’s easy for him to talk about being patient, but look what I’m going through”. I know, I know, but God knows how you feel. “He’s touched”, the Bible said, “touched with the feeling of our infirmities”. Jesus hurts when you hurt. He knows and He offers in the midst of all of that, where you’re hurting so bad and where things have fallen in upon you and where you’ve come to the end of your resources and you think, “I can’t stand one more minute of this”, Jesus knows how you feel right now and He’s offering- beloved, are you listening? He’s offering to take charge in that impossible situation and to see you through it.

Now He may not change your circumstances or indeed, He may, in answer to your prayers, but He’s offering to take over and be God in your life, pouring out His power with a resulting miraculous patience on your part. “All patience”.

Then he said, “All patience and long-suffering”, we talked about that momentarily the last time we got together. Making room in your heart for other people. That word long-suffering, is makrothumia, large-heartedness, great big heart for God and for people, long-suffering. It doesn’t mean merely putting up with people. You want to get that distinction clear in your mind. Can you tell when somebody just putting up with you? When they’re just trying to cope with you? When they’re just waiting for the situation to pass so they can be rid of you? Oh yes you can. Do you like that? No, you don’t. Well why should you try it on anyone else? Long-suffering means accepting the person as he or she is. Now, you don’t have to agree with what they are saying or doing, but accepting the person.

This is so valuable in dealing with your teenagers, mother and dad. They come home with some wild idea, your first impulse is to say, “You crazy kid. You want to grow up and be on welfare all your life? Come on. Have some sense,” and you sort of put them down, don’t you? That’s the first impulse that we would have. You have to learn the secret of long-suffering which is accept the person without necessarily agreeing with what he saying or doing. Junior comes home and says, “I’m going to quit school”. Well, your first impulse is to say, “Over my dead body. You’re going to go to school and like it. After all, you know, you want to grow up to be a dumbbell”?

No, don’t do it that way. Don’t reject the person. Accept the person. Say, “Hey. you feel pretty strongly about that, don’t you? Want to talk about it”? Then Junior will have a chance to tell you that he had a big disagreement with his biology teacher and the teacher told him off and he told the teacher off, and so on and so on, and he’s going to quit school because he’s angry. You can give him a chance to tell all about it and even in the telling he simmers down some. The temperature goes down a little in the furnace and then you can suggest to him, have you thought of this, wonder have you thought of this, that if you quit school now you have certain options open to you, but to certain other great limitations also are there, and if you go on through school you’ve got some other options open that seem to be a good deal. You want to think about that buddy”? And you and let him be his own person while at the same time, very gently suggesting alternative courses of action.

Now, of course as we’re talking about young people and your relationship with them, of course there are times when the only and the best thing you can do is to say that’s it, that’s the end of it, we can’t do it that way. Young people need what I’ve sometimes called a long rope, tightly tied at both ends. They need to be able to make a nickel or a dime decision on their own, without you and without me constantly daunting them or telling them what to do. They’re spreading their wings like fledgling sparrows learning to fly, and so, they need some freedom, but they also desperately need the reassurance that there is a point at which mother and dad are going to say, “Look buddy it, it won’t work that way. We don’t do it that way it our house. This is the way it has to be”, but always gently and in love and without rejecting the person. Long-suffering means accepting the person as he is, while in all honesty, presenting the truth as you see it.

Dear Father today, we pray that our hearts may be big enough to let people in, and strong enough to stand for the truth, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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