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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   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 10 2019

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

Introduction

We will continue our study of the Fruit of the Spirit as we consider another of the seed, result or grace called Peace. During the last meeting, we had an in-depth study of Joy. We learnt and discovered that Joy is more than a definition, Joy is spiritual! We learnt from the scriptures that the root of Joy is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We also learnt that since Joy is spiritual, this is different from Happiness, which is rooted in emotion.

Today, we will consider Peace and the significance and meaning of this manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in general.

 

What Really Are the “Graces”, seeds or “results” of the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit?

Quite a number of Christians still believe that these graces of “fruit of the Spirit” are things to strive for and work towards in the Christian life. These are the things God wants us to do to be “better Christians”. This has been the lesson taught on this verse many times and it sounds pretty good.

However, it will appear that this teaching directly betrays the meaning of the passage and the overall context. Specifically, at issue here is the nature of fruit. The idea of fruit is used throughout the New Testament almost always as an illustrative idea and not as literal fruit (apples, oranges, etc.). The theological idea of fruit is that of a natural result. An apple tree produces apples. An orange tree produces oranges. An apple tree will not produce an orange. No matter how hard an apple tree might try to produce an orange it will always be a losing battle. Yet, an orange tree has no problem producing an orange. In fact, everything from the roots to the branches are made to do just that.

Paul uses of the word “fruit” here to complete an idea that started earlier in the passage (Galatians 5:16-17 AMP).

The Christian has something unique that the rest of the world does not. We can choose to complete our daily activity, “walk”, by our own resources, a.k.a. “the flesh”, or by recognizing our lack of ability to produce Christ-like characteristics and trusting the Holy Spirit to work through us in our daily activity.

The fruit of these two trees (the flesh and the Spirit) are predictable. When we choose to go through any activity of our day by our own resources, our flesh tree will only ever produce flesh fruit, some of which are listed Galatians 5 vs 19-21. We might be able to cover up our flesh with a smile, justification, or comparative morality (“my flesh is not as bad as so-and-so’s flesh”), but it will always truly be fruit that is sickly and rotten at the core. No matter how much we might desire the opposite kind of fruit we can never, nor will we ever, produce it by our own efforts.

 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts and passions. 13 Do not go on offering members of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness. But offer yourselves to God [in a decisive act] as those alive [raised] from the dead [to a new life], and your members [all of your abilities—sanctified, set apart] as instruments of righteousness [yielded] to God.”

Romans 6:12-13 AMP

On the other hand, when we choose to offer ourselves to God and allow Him to work through us, our Spirit tree will only ever produce Spirit fruit.

What is Peace?

The word Paul used for peace was the Greek word eirene. This word includes the meaning “peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).

Peace is the opposite of James 4:1-4. Notice Philippians 4:6-7:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (emphasis added throughout).

God’s perfect peace is one of those wonderfully deep things of God that have not “entered into the heart of man” but are only “spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:9,14). The fruit of the Spirit of peace also provides the inner peace of mind and contentment found by living God’s way of life—even in less-than-peaceful situations.

Peace is more than the absence of war or something felt in the mind. It is a way of living life in a proper relationship between man and God, as well as man and man.

Why Does God Want Us to Demonstrate Peace?

Peace is so alien a thing in this world. Imagine a world:

  • Where people actually let others finish speaking instead of interrupting them.
  • Where people don’t have heated arguments.
  • Where differences are settled with patience rather than fists.
  • Where people show compassion to others even when they don’t deserve it.

Why, in Romans 12:18, does Paul say, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men”? He said this because God wants His entire creation to be at peace, and this must start one person at a time.

The coming Kingdom of God will be one of peace; and if we are to be a part of it, we must demonstrate this reality. Christ explicitly explained this in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). So why does God want us to demonstrate peace? God wants us to be a part of His family as sons and daughters, and His family must be peaceful. Eventually the whole world will be part of this peaceful family; but now, amidst the hatred and conflict, it must start with us.

An Example of Peace to Follow

A great example of making peace can be found in the story of Abram (whose name was later changed to Abraham) and his nephew Lot. The two were traveling together, but their possessions were too great and their herdsmen began bickering and fighting over grazing land.

Abram came to Lot and said: “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:8-9).

Instead of letting anger build up and shouting accusations, Abram calmly assessed the situation and made a suggestion, giving Lot the preference. His example shows that making peace might involve sacrifice of comfort and preference. But God blessed the results of Abram’s efforts at peace and recorded it as an example for us.

Conclusion – Demonstration of Peace

We must practice the way of peace starting in the only area we can really affect: our sphere of influence. Remember, Paul urged us “if it is possible” and “as much as depends on you” to live peaceably with “all men.” This will be challenging. Here are a few ideas:

  • Drop conversations that are getting out of hand. This might involve saying something like: “Let’s agree to disagree.” Then be satisfied that you can’t change someone else’s mind about certain things. Peace is knowing that God’s intervention might be necessary to change someone’s thinking (including our own).
  • Make yourself stand out as the calm and collected one in whatever encounters you experience. Others may fight or say insulting, jealous or prideful things, but we should edify, build up and walk away from an encounter if necessary.
  • Respect other human beings as potential future members of the family of God. Remind yourself that God does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), no matter how angry you are at the person at the moment.

Some parts of this study culled from https://www.compellingtruth.org; https://www.ucg.org; https://lifehopeandtruth.com

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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