Wednesday, August 6, 2014

To Long for Long-Suffering

Almost everybody wants love, joy, and peace. After all, who would not? But some of the other fruits of the Spirit seem less desirable, or at least more difficult. One of them is long-suffering, or patience. (It should be noted that there are two types of patience, both of which are commended in Scripture. The one I am dealing with here is patience with people, while the other is patience with circumstances). Now long-suffering is what God is with us (Romans 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:15,16; 2 Peter 3:15). And it is what God calls us to be (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:11; 3:12). But such an attitude is often looked down on in the world at large. We are told we need to assert ourselves, stand up for what we want. Even if we do not hold this view, there is a natural tendency to retaliate and get our own back (Romans 12:17-21; Matthew 5:43-48; Proverbs 20:22). Now it should be noted that the picture here is not that of a person who is a doormat. Rather, it is being willing to stand up firmly to evil without retaliating, based on trust in God (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 37:1-6; Romans 8:28). The ultimate example of this is, of course, Jesus Christ, who though He was God in the flesh, suffered greatly for our salvation (Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:21-25; Hebrews 12:2). But it is only by trusting in His Spirit to work this in us that we see this attitude developed in ourselves (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Galatians 5:16). 

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