Longsuffering NOT Shortsuffering

ImpatiensI therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.”(Ephesians 4:1-2)   

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Longsuffering:  When we realize how patient and forgiving our loving Lord has been with us, we can extend the same to others. Patience is accepting a trial in our lives, and waiting for God to work, without giving him a deadline to remove it. The opposite is selfishness, impatience, and an unforgiving, bitter spirit.

Well, May is almost over, so here’s the fourth post in my Fruit of the Spirit series. This month, we are studying “longsuffering”, or patience.

The King James Version of the Bible uses the word “longsuffering” for what most other versions call “patience” – which is a good word, but I think “longsuffering” is more descriptive of what this fruit of the Spirit entails. Remember the nine-fold Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) is the fruit, or evidence, of the Holy Spirit’s residing in our hearts, and as we yield to the Holy Spirit our inner man becomes more like Christ and less like the sinful, fleshy, natural man of our heart. Longsuffering builds on the first three fruits – Love, Joy, and Peace – which are the “inward” fruit, the ones that affect our heart and soul, our inner being. When we are filled with God’s love, joy and peace, then He will enable us to “suffer long” (1 Corinthians 13:4) with difficult people and circumstances. Longsuffering, Gentleness, and Goodness are the three “outward” fruits, the ones that affect our attitudes and behaviors toward the people and situations around us. The Chinese Symbol for patience is this:

Chinese patience

The characters, as you can see, represent a heart with a knife in it, and together are interpreted as “going on with a knife in your heart”, or, patience! Wow! Isn’t that what patience is? Suffering yet continuing on. Afflicted with pain yet perservering. Enduring over a long period of time with overpowering circumstances.

What Patience is NOT:

Longsuffering, or patience is NOT to be confused with “shortsuffering” – we can all do that! We can all suffer for a short period of time, knowing that it will be over soon – “I’ve just got to hang on a little longer!” Patience is NOT resignation either, it’s not “Oh well, I guess that’s life, I just have to put up with it” (think Eeyore!!!); also, Patience is NOT just a personality that doesn’t get ruffled; and Patience is NOT tapping our foot while we wait for something to happen!

What Patience IS:

Patience is “accepting a trial in our lives, and waiting for God to work, without giving him a deadline to remove it.” So, patience is not only the ability to go on with a knife in your heart, patience comes as a result of having gone on with a knife in your heart (James 1:3), and through that suffering have found God to be more than enough to help you endure and see hope (Romans 5:3,4). Longsuffering means that we can continue to go on for a long, long time because we know that God is with us in this, He will strengthen us, help us, and hold us up when we need it. So that HE gets the glory!

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”(Isaiah 41:10)

WHY have Patience:

We need to be longsuffering in so many areas of our lives: as parents, and as children; as teachers, and as students; as counselors, and as counselees; as the healer, and as the hurting; as leaders, and as followers; as employers and/or managers, and as employees; I’m sure you can think of others…

Because, others are watching! When they see our patience with situations and people, they will ask us the reason for our calmness in light of such distress –and then we have the opportunity to share the REASON – the Lord Jesus Christ, Who displayed such longsufferingtoward us while we were yet sinners:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (2 Peter 3:15)

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:15)

Longsuffering, or patience is something we ALL could use, I know I wish I had more, but I’m not sure that I want to go through the “trying of my faith” (James 1:2) or the “tribulations” (Romans 5:3) that bring it about! Lord – give me patience, but do it quickly!!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” -Helen Keller

Here’s a link to another blog post I did on Patience: Be Patient

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