Fruit of the Spirit - Long-Suffering


 

The effect of Christ in our heart is “love, joy, peace.” This describes our relationship to God; that is, not dreading to see Him, not walking before Him with foreboding, but in love, joy, and peace. It describes for the Christian a marvelous, open, free fellowship with God. We will now consider “longsuffering, gentleness, goodness.” This is our relationship and our attitude toward those around us. We are not to be acrimonious and critical. Rather, we are to be “Longsuffering, gentle, and good.”

Long-suffering is that patient endurance and steadfastness under ill-will, that has no thought of retaliation. It is that quality of self-restraint which does not retaliate or punish. Long-suffering is the opposite of anger, is associated with mercy and does not surrender to circumstances. Long-suffering is a passive virtue of patient endurance under injuries inflicted by others. This is love under pressure with power to continue to exhibit itself as love. Patience grows in trial and perfects the Christian character. As God is long-suffering to us, likewise we should be to others.

The word “long-suffering” is the Greek word “makrothumei” and it denotes “longanimity,” slowness to anger or passion; long-suffering, patient endurance, forbearance. It is opposed to haste; to passionate expressions and thoughts, and to irritability. It is a state of mind which can bear long when oppressed, provoked, calumniated, and when one seeks to injure us.

Also, long-suffering can endue evil, injury, and provocation, without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge. It makes the mind firm, gives it power over the angry passions, and furnishes it with a persevering patience, which will wait and wish for the reformation of a brother than to resentment of his conduct. Long-suffering will put up with many slights and neglects from the person it loves, and wait long to see the kindly effects of such patience on him.

Patience or long-suffering as we have come to know it, is not something that comes naturally. Through prayer and Bible study, we must allow God to work in our lives that He may perfect this Fruit of the Spirit in us.

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