Church of God, New World Ministries

Longsuffering

This word longsuffering is no longer an everyday word, but it is needed more than ever when impatience, intolerance, oversensitivity and impulsive anger are so prevalent.

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.

The fact is that 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.” And these include hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy and murders.

Just from reading what the works of the flesh are, it is clear that we need an antidote to these traits, and that antidote is God’s Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of this antidote is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Quite a big difference between works of the flesh and God’s Holy Spirit.

The 4th quality of God’s Holy Spirit is longsuffering, in other Bible versions it is patience.

In the Greek, one Greek word humpomonee this word is translated patience, in almost of all Bible versions it implies patience and endurance.

Another Greek word is makrothumia and it is translated patience in some Bibles, but more accurately as longsuffering in others.

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

With 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 blow up.

This is the word used in Galatians 5:22. Longsuffering is the opposite of anger, especially of outbursts of wrath as in II Cor. 12:20.

Many people tend to overreact, they quickly get on the defensive, interpret remarks as attacks and then strike back. Anger usually involves a spiteful attitude of retaliation and revenge. But God forbids this: Bless those who persecute you. Repay no one evil for evil, do not avenge yourselves” (Rom. 12:14, 17, 19).

The Bible teaches mercy and forgiveness. Most people tend to excuse their anger, but most human anger is self-centered and sinful.

The apostle James tell us “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

Have you ever seen anyone say with great feelings “I hate you?” The Bible defines love and hatred, largely by people’s actions.

Love is expressed through helping people, while hate is demonstrated through harming people. The apostle Paul tells us: “that loves suffers long, and is kind, it does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, and thinks no evil” (I Cor. 13:4-5).

Now, think about this: our thoughts and attitudes are likewise important, as they are the source of our actions and words.

Notice what the apostle Luke tells us: “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 attitude. We should ask ourselves, am I motivated by love, respect, patience and compassion or am I motivated by resentment, contempt, intolerance and hardness of the heart?

In Psalms 145:8 we read this: “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” And that is what God expects His Church to be.

To truly be a Son of God we must be led by the Spirit of God.

Endures means continuing to be led by God’s Spirit and continuing to bear the fruit of His Spirit to the end of our life or the second coming of Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, be patient or 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” (James 5:7-8).

 
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