The Fruit of the Spirit – Long suffering

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The popular impatiens flowers are so named from seeming to be highly impatient! When their seed pods mature, they explode when touched, sending seeds several yards away. See how this picture illustrates the need for longsuffering, an important fruit of God’s Spirit!

 

July 22, 2017

The Fruit of the Spirit – Longsuffering

 

Anger and animosity can be the result of many negative influences. The evil influence we all are infected with is our own selfish nature. And our human abilities to make major improvements are pitifully weak. We need God’s help!

In Galatians 5:19-21, the apostle Paul refers to our human nature as “the flesh” and our selfish tendencies as the “works of the flesh.” These include “hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders”!

Clearly we need the antidote for these traits, which is God’s Spirit!

Paul went on to say, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, emphasis added throughout). What an amazing contrast!

All these beautiful virtues work together and support each other. Think about how longsuffering relates to the other attributes.

Two important words
Listed fourth among the fruit of the Spirit is a wonderful quality translated “longsuffering” in some Bible versions and “patience” in others.

Those two English words are closely related, both associated with endurance. More important and fascinating is learning about the two corresponding Greek words in the New Testament.

One Greek word— humpomonee —is translated “patience” in almost all Bible versions and implies patient endurance.

The other Greek word is even more interesting. It is makrothumia, translated “patience” in some Bible versions but more accurately as “longsuffering” in others.

The Greek word makro (which gives us the English prefix macro ) means “large” or “long.” The root word thumos means “temper.” Therefore makrothumia literally means long-tempered, the opposite of short-tempered or having a short fuse.

Without makrothumia, we human beings tend to be temperamental —having an irritable temperament and bad temper. We tend to “lose patience” and “lose our cool” and even “blow up” (like an impatiens plant).

We’ll focus primarily on makrothumia since it is the word used in Galatians 5:22. However, please keep in mind how these two words overlap in meaning and are both important to our spiritual understanding and growth.

Longsuffering and love vs. anger and hate
Longsuffering is virtually the opposite of anger, especially of “outbursts of wrath” (2 Corinthians 12:20).

When a traffic light turns green, some drivers will impatiently honk their horns if the car ahead doesn’t start moving within two seconds! No longsuffering there! Even worse is the epidemic of road rage with cursing and actual violence.

Many people tend to overreact. They quickly get on the defensive, interpret remarks as attacks and then strike back. Many people carry a lot of inner anger from their past. Every small hurt or annoyance adds to the storehouse of anger. The slightest provocation brings the anger to the surface and into the open.

Anger usually involves a spiteful attitude of retaliation and revenge. But God forbids this: “Bless those who persecute you … (Romans 12:14; Romans 12:17; Romans 12:19). The Bible teaches mercy and forgiveness.

People tend to excuse their anger, but most human anger is self-centered and sinful. “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

Hardly anyone will admit to hating people. But the Bible defines love and hatred largely by people’s actions. Love is expressed through helping people, while hate is demonstrated through harming people (see Romans 13:10).

Paul described the behavior of love: “Love suffers long and is kind … [It] does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The New International Version renders his words this way: “Love is patient, love is kind … It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Our thoughts and attitudes are likewise important, as they are the source of our actions and words: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

Therefore we should honestly examine our attitudes. Each of us should ask: Am I motivated by love, respect, patience and compassion, or am I motivated by resentment, contempt, intolerance and hardness of heart?

Slow to anger, quick to forgive
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy” (Psalms 145:8). That’s the way He expects us to be!

Consider carefully these wise words about being “long-tempered”: “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29). “A wrathful man stirs up strife , but he who is slow to anger allays contention” (Proverbs 15:18). “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11).

James wrote, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). Then if and when appropriate anger is expressed, it will likely be under control.

You have probably heard the good advice of “stop and count to 10” and “take some deep breaths” rather than lashing out with words you’ll regret—words that will escalate conflict rather than make peace.

Truly the first step of longsuffering is to exercise restraint and do nothing. We must think first! What does God want me to say or do?

If your feelings are hurt and you feel the need to immediately say something, speak softly and don’t say anything to hurt back. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

Then take as much time as you need to pray and plan regarding the wise and constructive way to approach the other person. Your goal is to act lovingly rather than reacting hatefully.

But these good intentions and good habits are not nearly as powerful as God’s supernatural gift of longsuffering. Good interpersonal relationships depend on you doing your best plus trusting God with the rest. We human beings are pitifully incomplete without God’s Spirit.

How does one obtain the Holy Spirit? The apostle Peter briefly explained in Acts 2:38, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

To truly be “sons of God” we must be “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14).

In Colossians 3:12-13, Paul describes the nature of someone who is led by God’s Spirit: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (He states something very similar in Ephesians 4:1-3.)

Notice how these qualities tie together and give us an expanded view of longsuffering. We need to patiently “bear with one another” rather than allow ourselves to get irritated!

Longsuffering and eternal life
Waiting for others is a test of our patience and an opportunity to build patience. And the Bible has much to say about our need to wait on God. We want God to solve all our problems right now, but God knows the best timing. He often tests our patience and perseverance before answering our prayers.

When the Bible mentions waiting, patience, perseverance or longsuffering, it is often in connection with trusting in God to intervene for us in our need, as He assuredly will: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

This patient waiting is ultimately focused on the second coming of Jesus Christ: “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).

Only those who remain faithful to death or to Christ’s coming will be rewarded in His Kingdom. After warning about end-time persecution of Christians, Jesus said, “But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).

“Endures” means continuing to be led by God’s Spirit and continuing to bear the fruit of His Spirit to the end of your life or the second coming of Christ, whichever comes first.

And James 5:7-8 exhorts us: “Therefore be patient [literally, longsuffering ], brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

@weatywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

 

 

 

Waiting With Patience

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July 22, 2017

Waiting Upon God

And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you… blessed are all they that wait for him (Isaiah 30:18).

We must not only think of our waiting upon God, but also of what is more wonderful still, of God’s waiting upon us. The vision of Him waiting on us, will give new impulse and inspiration to our waiting upon Him. It will give us unspeakable confidence that our waiting cannot be in vain. Let us seek even now, at this moment, in the spirit of waiting on God, to find out something of what it means.

He has inconceivably glorious purposes concerning every one of His children. And you ask, “How is it, if He waits to be gracious, that even after I come and wait upon Him, He does not give the. help I seek, but waits on longer and longer?” God is a wise husbandman, “who waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it.” He cannot gather the fruit till it is ripe. He knows when we are spiritually ready to receive the blessing to our profit and His glory. Waiting in the sunshine of His love is what will ripen the soul for His blessing. Waiting under the cloud of trial, that breaks in showers of blessings, is as needful.

Be assured that if God waits longer than you could wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious. God waited four thousand years, till the fullness of time, ere He sent His Son. Our times are in His hands; He will avenge His elect speedily; He will make haste for our help, and not delay one hour too long.

~Andrew Murray

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

His Sanctification

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July 22, 2017

Sanctification

This is the will of God, even your sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:3

The Death Side.

In sanctification God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. Many of us spend so much time in the place of death that we get sepulchral. There is always a battle royal before sanctification, always something that tugs with resentment against the demands of Jesus Christ. Immediately the Spirit of God begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle begins. “If any man come to Me and hate not…his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

The Spirit of God in the process of sanctification will strip me until I am nothing but “myself,” that is the place of death. Am I willing to be “myself,” and nothing more — no friends, no father, no brother, no self-interest, simply ready for death? That is the condition of sanctification. No wonder Jesus said: “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” This is where the battle comes, and where so many of us faint. We refuse to be identified with the death of Jesus on this point. “But it is so stern,” we say; “He cannot wish me to do that.” Our Lord is stern; and He does wish us to do that.

Am I willing to reduce myself simply to “me,” determinedly to strip myself of all my friends think of me, of all I think of myself, and to hand that simple naked self over to God? Immediately I am, He will sanctify me wholly, and my life will be free from earnestness in connection with every thing but God.

When I pray — “Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,” He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts into me: it is Himself in me.

Oswald Chambers

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn