Simply teaching the Bible, simply

Long-suffering (Fruit of the Spirit)

This study was taught at our Sunday evening service by Sim Forder, one of our pastors, on the 20th September 2020. You can listen to the audio on this web page or save it for later listening.

This is the third study in our series on the Fruit of the Spirit, something that should be evident in the life of every Christian, and found in the Bible in Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

As taught in our introduction to this series, we should keep in mind the following foundational items;

  • Grace, not works (We don’t show the fruit of the Spirit in order to be saved, but rather we grow fruit because we have been saved – see Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Fruit, not fruits (Unlike the gifts of the Spirit where different ones are given to different people, we should each demonstrate all the qualities of the fruit of the Spirit – see 2 Peter 1:5-9).
  • Abiding, not striving (We are to abide in Christ. If the branches are not connected, they will not bear fruit. Likewise we must spend time in the Word, and in prayer, or we will not bear fruit – John 15:4).

In this study we specifically looked at long-suffering, or patience as it is often translated.

The dictionary defines patience as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious, and longsuffering as having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.

Probably no surprises there, but it’s helpful to think about it. Strong’s Bible dictionary describes patience in terms of forbearance – which is patient self-control; restraint and tolerance or fortitude, which is courage in pain or adversity. It adds that it is also endurance, perseverance and slowness in avenging wrongs.

To help us look at this, we considered two aspects – our attitude, as relates to us being annoyed or anxious, and our actions, as relates to self-restraint. A summary in advance is that we will consider our attitude of contentment, and our action of self-control.

As for our attitude, we need to wait on the Lord – practically this means;

  • Trust God – that he has your best interests at heart
  • Seek His will – that means praying and listening, and studying His Word
  • Obey His will – that means readying your Bible and doing what it says
  • Commit what is out of your control to Him

As for our actions, our patience is regularly tested – the question is will it pass the test? To help us answer this, there are at least 3 areas where the Bible says we need patience. We should be;

  • Patient in trials
  • Patient with others
  • Patient in our circumstances

Of course, we would do well to consider the examples we have in scripture – of both those who failed in patience, and those whose example we should follow. We concluded this study looking at some of those, along with a reminder from AW Tozer of the journey we’re on as we adventure through life on earth;

We tend to think of Christianity as a painless system by which we can escape the penalty of past sins and attain to heaven at last. The flaming desire to be rid of every unholy thing and to put on the likeness of Christ at any cost is not often found among us. We expect to enter the everlasting kingdom of our Father and to sit down around the table with sages, saints and martyrs; and through the grace of God, maybe we shall; yes, maybe we shall. But for the most of us it could prove at first an embarrassing experience. Ours might be the silence of the untried soldier in the presence of the battle-hardened heroes who have fought the fight and won the victory and who have scars to prove that they were present when the battle was joined.

AW Tozer

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