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LETS WORSHIP TOGETHER

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Saturday, October 19 2019

Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye

INTRODUCTION:

We have been looking at various seeds of the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy and Peace). We have discovered that there is only one fruit of the Spirit, but it has multiple seeds or graces. With Love we learnt that first, love must be directed to God, to ourselves, then to our fellow men. We went further then to look at Joy where we learnt that joy is God’s nature and character! And since God is exceedingly joyful, His servants should also be joyful! And then last week we studied the definition of peace, examples of peace to follow and concluded with the demonstration of Peace. In today’s study we will be looking at “longsuffering”.

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Gal. 5:22 [AMP]

  • LONGSUFFERING is…

Merriam Webster dictionary defines longsuffering as patiently enduring lasting offense or hardship.”

Jack Wellman describes longsuffering in short has suffering long! He went on further to say, “It refers to a great deal of patience or endurance of something or someone like an illness or the mistreatment by others of one’s self”.

God’s people (Christians) are to be Christ-like and we are to walk in the Spirit. This means, among other things, showing the fruit of the Spirit manifesting as love, joy, peace, and now longsuffering.
L
ongsuffering is in God’s character as we see it in:

  • Psalm 86:15 - “But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth”;
  • Num. 14:18 – “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy…….”; and
  • Ex 34:6 – “…The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth”.

Longsuffering enables us to never give up, regardless of life’s difficulties or trials. The opposite of longsuffering is having a short fuse and being quick to react in an angry, irritated, short-tempered manner in a stressful challenging situation. When you have longsuffering, you are always trying to look for the positive and highlighting that rather than murmuring and complaining.

  • EXPRESSING LONGSUFFERING…

Expressing this seed of the fruit of the Spirit means handing over whatever difficult, annoying or frustrating, situation to Him, asking that God will bless you and make you a blessing despite it, or by means of it, and through it. In the end God will take care of everything, and the trials now in circumstances will soon be over.

Joni Eareckson Tada said: “The times we find ourselves having to wait on others, [or be longsuffering towards them] may be the perfect opportunities to train ourselves to wait on the Lord [and to remember His longsuffering towards us].” And James also said in James 5:8: “You also be patient [longsuffering]; establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

The Holy Spirit works this seed of longsuffering out in and through us by guiding us in faith and humbleness and giving us an everlasting perspective in life.

  • WHY IS LONGSUFFERING IMPORTANT?

The Longsuffering seed is part of God’s renewing work on His people’s lives by His grace and Spirit. When we become able to “suffer long” towards others, it shows much of God’s grace and graciousness in us proving we are living truly in faith and depending upon God.

On the flip side, when we are unable to express longsuffering, it often brings a lot of disgrace to the gospel and our Christian testimony. Think about it, do you easily get drawn to a person who easily gets upset with other people (“short fused), someone who is impatient and exhibits bad-tempered in difficult situations? No, it makes you uncomfortable right? That’s why having longsuffering is essential as it brings a calm disposition and it helps in promoting endurance and perseverance to the end. This is attenable by God’s grace and through His Spirit and Word as your guide and refuge.

  • DEVELOPING LONGSUFFERING

Some people are naturally patient while some also come from families and or churches where patience was taught as a virtue and practiced. Longsuffering is slightly similar but also quite different. The longsuffering we are talking about today is a result of the fruit of the spirit. As previously discussed, it manifests itself in patience, mercy, forgiveness, and in facing and enduring trials with courage and perseverance.

Let us link this quickly to the “love chapter” - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Notice how many times longsuffering appears in its various manifestations, covering all angles. I would like us to do a quick exercise exercising the “power of the tongue” by inserting your name in this confession below:

<YOUR NAME> suffers long with kindness, I refuse to be easily provoked to anger, I refuse to ever wish to get revenge, and I will endure any suffering and persecution life throws at me.

We can accomplish all this through God in us - Agape! We therefore need to ask God every time to fill us with longsuffering. God is very longsuffering. That is one of His traits. His Spirit in us gives us that same quality that emanates from God. But for it to be the real thing it must be from God.

Colossians 1:9-11: “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering  with joy;”

CONCLUSION

It is hard to suffer long in this world without the Holy Spirit. Hence why people without God find it hard to live through hardships and agonies life throws at them, they lack the hope of an eternal future which is free from all suffering. We should always pray for these sets of individuals. Pray that God grants them repentance so that they too can be saved. Until that happens, we must be kind to them, continue daily to pray for them, love them, and be longsuffering in their struggle to our belief in Christ because at some point so were, we!

Let us ask God to fill us with this amazing gift more than ever before and by so doing we will reap the benefits of having more self-discipline in the face of provocation. Making us less willing to retaliate, less easily provoked to anger but rather more merciful, less liable to surrender to circumstances and less likely to crumble under trials and full of hope.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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