Summary: David gives us an example of one who fortifies his own self in the midst of life's crushing places.

At the very beginning of this message I should point out very quickly and immediately that the message today is not necessarily for the faint of heart—that I need to warn/inform/caution some of you before I go any further that if you only came today for the purpose and expressed intent of hearing a message that will simply and merely make you feel good/feel better/give you spiritual jitters & jeepers/make you feel happy and light-hearted and fuzzy and built up on the inside of your soul—you might want to ease up and out of your comfortable spot right now. That this message today is not meant for those who only showed up to run, shout, dance, holler, climb the wall and look precious and cute and brand new—to get a spiritual hit and a spiritual high and a spiritual pump. And then go back home in the same fashion of which you came in. Because this message (purposefully and deliberately) does not provide quick/swift/speedy solutions and easy answers. For I really want explore and examine a subject that is not very popular today, not often discussed and talked about in our day and culture—and that subject is LONGSUFFERING.

Incidentally, the Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Galatia, in Galatians chapter 5, gives us there a list/litany/directory on the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit as a result and a consequence of one’s growth walk with God. Among them: Love, Joy, Peace—and one the characteristics of which he lifts up and places on the register with the other Fruit is LONGSUFFERING. (Some translations render the word patience/tolerance/selflessness) Now most of us have no direct issue or problem at all with the fruit of love and joy and peace. But the idea of longsuffering gives us a lot of pause and reservation.

Throwing longsuffering into the mix—now that is what can blow a lot of testimonies.

The reality is that I may have no direct issue with love—but I may have a problem with loving you LONG.

I may have no issue with joy—but my issue may be keeping my joy LONG.

I surely desire to have peace in my life—but in the midst of the chaos/disorder/turmoil/anarchy—I may have an issue with having peace LONG.

And yes the text testifies, in Galatians 5, that the fruit of the Spirit, the manifestation and expression of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is there will be instances and moments and periods when you will suffer LONG.

If you are in Christ and Christ is in you and you are laughing and smiling all the time, cruising through life on a bed of ease and always appeased and you never find yourself

- dealing with discouragement

- dabbling in disappointment

- downright dejected and depressed

- struggling with uncertain nights and anxious days

You should be little bit worried, bothered and concerned. Because it is the enemy’s full-time occupation and objective to oppose and obstruct the lives of the people of God—because we are the only ones on the planet who have the opportunity to do something effective, efficient and effectual in the name of God and in the kingdom of almighty God.

It is the anointing that operates in us/through us/among us—that has the capacity to dismantle and disjoint the enemy’s hold on this world and therefore he must contest and combat us because if he leaves you untouched and unscathed—you are going to tear his kingdom down.

Consequently, the Apostle Peter wrote to the early church while they stood in the midst of trial, tribulation and trouble. As they were going through some things and said to them that “when you were in the midst of trials, tribulations, and trouble and tragedy—you ought to recognize that God is at work in IT and in YOU.” He went on to say: ‘after you have suffered for a little while the God of all grace will perfect you, establish you, strengthen and settle you.

What that is telling us is that you can not be perfected, strengthened or established until and unless you first learn how to suffer.

• Because everybody can shout on the success and the promotion; but can you shout in the midst of the suffering and the pain?

• Anybody can shout on the breakthrough and the business but can you shout and celebrate while you are still carrying the burden in your heart.

• Everybody can shout when their coming out; but can you shout when you are still in it and can’t see your way out OF it?

For I hate to be the bearer of important news, but I think I should inform you and remind you—you will have to go through some things.

You just might saved/sanctified/spirit-filled/speak in tongues/fire-baptized/anointed and appointed—but you are still going to go through.

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