If you are like me, your natural reaction to offenses or hardships is to fix things now! Patience is not a strong suit with me, nor is my ability to hold my tongue. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit do I have chance of being surrendered enough to handle things gracefully.
What about you? How well do you do with offences and hardships?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
While it is good to recognize that longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit and that through the power of the Holy Spirit we can be longsuffering, it’s also important to think about the bigger picture.
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:14-17
Paul writes that he was chief among sinners. Remember, Paul was originally against Christians. He was responsible for the death of many. Without Jesus’ longsuffering, the encounter that Paul had on the Damascus road would not ever have happened. Paul would not have been given the chance to repent. Jesus could have easily removed Paul from this world. Instead, through the longsuffering of Jesus, Paul had the opportunity to come to know Him and believe on him to life everlasting.
We want Jesus to be longsuffering with us, and He surely has been. Praise God that He was longsuffering with us before we came to know Him that we had that opportunity to repent. Praise God that He is longsuffering with those that are lost today in that Jesus has not returned yet, and the door is still open to them.
If for no other reason than Jesus was longsuffering with us, we need to be longsuffering with others. When we are longsuffering, others can see Jesus in us. When we extend His forgiveness, mercy, and grace, others see something different from the ordinary tendencies of individuals. They see Jesus there too.
Who do you need to be longsuffering with today?
Today’s challenge is to be thankful for the longsuffering of Jesus with you. In turn, strive to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to be longsuffering with others. It is not so much an outward thing as it is a result of an inward change and willingness to become more Christ-like. Surrender your will – your impatience and temper – to Jesus. Trust that whatever happens, He has it under control.