Love endures long-suffering and is patient and kind.
Do we feel like we’ve been long-suffering and not sure why? Are there people out there that provoke us or intentionally test us? How fast do we get distracted when trials come our way?
I have forgotten how to endure long-suffering for Christ. I usually take matters into my own hands and try to manipulate them, faster than God wants. I run out of patience for the situation and rather than wait upon God’s direction; I move forward with my own.
So, how can we endure long-suffering, (i.e. a job-loss, financial ruin, failing health, family difficulties, marriage issues) for Christ’s sake?
Let’s define long-suffering.
(Verb) To be patient, long-suffering, to bear with, to be long tempered. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament) It also goes on to say that, “Long-suffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation, which does NOT retaliate.”
How many times do we feel in our heart that we just want to get even? I know I’ve dealt with people who have intentionally tried to rob me, or take advantage of me and people who have humiliated me whom I’ve loved dearly.
Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit, and if we are to live by the fruit of the Spirit, then we obviously can’t obtain self-restraint on our own. God is the perfect example of self-restraint. There are several accounts in the Bible where God would have been justified to intervene hastily, but didn’t. 1Peter 3:18; Genesis 18:20; Genesis 15:16 are just a few examples.
We can also endure if we remember how to live by Luke 6:31:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto You.
- Husband irritating you? Try to ignore the irritation until you can calmly talk about it with him. Then treat him the way you would want to be treated.
- Job draining your life? Re-evaluate why you are working where you are working and treat your fellow employees as you would want to be treated.
- Family drama got you down? Do unto your family as you would like done unto you.
Don’t be the cause of difficult situations.
Don’t add fuel to the fire.
I went through a time where I briefly lost my ability to be kind; every quirk drove me nuts. Every hateful remark put another dagger into my heart which left me to wonder where my ability to love had gone.
I just wanted to retaliate. I now know exactly where it went; it got caught between many worlds. It got caught in the world of being cheated on; the world of being lied to and the world of inappropriate finger-pointing. I lived “lost-and-angry” for way too long.
Jesus’s words in John 16:32 reminds us that we do not suffer alone. We do not have to endure finger-pointing alone; back stabbing alone or dagger digging alone.
What do you think about suffering for Christ’s sake? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.