“But take heed to yourselves/watch yourselves (βλέπετε…ἑαυτούς); for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who has patience (ὑπομείνας) to the end will be saved.” (Mk 13: 9-13)

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Patience does not get enough press, even in our church-life. At least in my neck of the woods, it seems that humility and obedience get all the attention. Be that as it may, I need to “take heed to,” or “watch” my “self,” that I have “patience” or “hypo-mone” in Greek, – which means, literally, a “remaining behind,” – whenever “they” bring me “to trial” on my cross-carrying journey. Who are “they”? It’s whoever and whatever, either within or outside me, that pulls me away from being the “self” Christ calls me to be, according to my vocation.

Let me “remain behind,” in patience, and let the Holy Spirit “speak” in my life, on those many occasions when “other” voices call me to be someone other than my God-envisioned self. These “calls” include people-pleasing, inappropriate desire, misplaced ambition, wishful thinking, and other delusions. Let me re-connect with God today, and open up to His grace in some heartfelt prayer, that I may let Him take the lead, and myself follow, from “behind,” in patience. “Lead us not into temptation,” Lord, “and deliver us from the evil one” today. Amen!