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Longsuffering


Galatians 5:22 tells us that longsuffering is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for longsuffering means, "patience, forbearing, perseverance, being constant, steadfast, and enduring." The practical application of this fruit is that God's Holy Spirit gives obedient Christians an ability to be long-suffering which enables them to continue in their service to the Lord no matter what may come their way.


At times the Great Commission is hard work and puts tremendous pressure on all who are dedicated to the Lord's mandate. Christians have known discouragement and disappointment. They have even been wronged, abused, slandered, and injured. Disease, accidents and old age afflict even the child of God. The obedient Christian, however, is infused by the power of the Holy Spirit with longsuffering and is enabled to see his labors through to a healthy completion.

Longsuffering never strikes back when personally attacked for living the Christian life. The fruit of longsuffering is a great trait of God and every Christian can be enjoying it as they walk in step with the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul exhorts Christians with, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." (Philippians 1:27)


Christians can actually be longsuffering in their labors with God if they would completely surrender to the Holy Spirit's leading when it comes to reaching out to the lost and calling them unto the true God. We need only to look to the Book of Jonah. It is a revelation of God's character and attitude toward those who do not know Him.

This portion of God's Word tells of a time when God sent the prophet Jonah to Nineveh, an Assyrian city that had become very wicked and cruel. Historians tell us that they were greatly feared and hated because of their bloodthirsty acts of terror. Jonah's message from God was, "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." The Bible says, "The Ninevites believed God..." (Jonah 3: 4 - 5) and repented from their sins. "When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened." (Jonah 3:10) God longs to see the wicked come to repentance. Students of the Book of Jonah know that, although the prophet Jonah desired judgment to come upon Nineveh, God was longsuffering unto repentance.


Many today live in their own world of self-will, desiring worldliness rather than godliness. Yet God has withheld His hand of judgment because, "He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)


It is easy for Christians to become weary at reaching the lost for Christ. The task is often quite burdensome and long in waiting before seeing any fruits of their labors. Christians now live in times where many different forms of persecution may come upon them for living the Christian life and fulfilling the Great Commission. However, longsuffering is promised to all obedient Christians and they will experience a power from the Holy Spirit, thus being conformed more and more into the image of Christ. They will say "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord... will award me on that day." (2 Timothy 4:7)

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