Summary: Part 4 of a study on the Fruit of the Spirit on Longsuffering
Fruit of the Spirit—Longsuffering
Series: Fruit of the Spirit Teaching Series
June 15, 22, 29, 2014
TEXT: Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Illus. – I read a joke this week that reminded me of the importance of longsuffering:
A man and his wife are awakened at three o’clock in the morning by a loud pounding on the door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger is standing in a pouring rain, asking for a push.
“Are you crazy?” says the husband. “It’s three o’clock in the morning!”—and he slams the door and returns to bed.
“Who was it?” asks his wife.
“Just a drunken stranger asking for a push” he answers.
“Did you help him?” she asks.
“No, I didn’t help him. It’s three in the morning and raining outside.”
“Well, you sure have a short memory” says his wife. “Can’t you remember about three months ago when we broke down on holiday and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him.”
So reluctantly the man gets dressed and goes out into the pouring rain and calls out into the dark, “Hello—Are you still there?”
“Yes,” comes the answer.
“Do you still want a push?” calls out the husband.
“Yes, please!” comes the reply from the dark.
“Where are you?” asks the husband.
“Over here on the swing” the drunk replies.
If there’s anything that man needs in a situation like that—it’s LONGSUFFERING.
We’ve been looking at the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. You’ll recall from the first week of our study of the fruit of the Spirit that we noted that the qualities found in these verses form three triads (groups of three):
• The first triad are love, joy, and peace, found in verse 22, which we said are “habits of mind that find their source in GOD.”
• The second triad are qualities that reveal themselves in our relationships with OTHERS—longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness.
• The third triad are graces that guide the general conduct of the believer led by the Holy Spirit—faith, meekness, and temperance.
So today we will look closely at the first characteristic in the second triad of characteristics—LONGSUFFERING. We want to examine this quality of the Spirit-filled life, and to help us remember it, each point begins with the letter “D.”
I. CONSIDER FIRST OF ALL, THE DIFFICULTY OF LONGSUFFERING.
Longsuffering is difficult to develop and maintain in our lives, isn’t it?
Q. Why do you think this is so? (GET RESPONSES.)
I think there are several reasons for this:
• First of all, developing patience is difficult because it goes against our basic human nature.
Illus. – When a baby wakes up in the middle of the night and is hungry, or its diaper is wet, it doesn’t lie there and think, I know Mommy and Daddy are tired, so I’ll just wait until a more convenient time to let them know that I need something to eat or my diaper changed. – No, the baby cries impatiently and continues to cry until it receives the attention it demands.
It’s just natural to be impatient.
Older kids aren’t very patient either. Have you ever traveled with a child?
Illus. – Once a little four-year-old was traveling with his mother and constantly asked the same question over and over again. He would ask, “When are we going to get there? When are we going to get there?”
Finally, the mother got so annoyed she said, “Look—We still have 90 more miles to go, so don’t ask me again when we’re going to get there! Okay?”
Well, the boy sat silent for a while, but the longer time went by, the more impatient he became.
Finally, he timidly asked, “Mom, will I still be four when we get there?”
Well, you don’t have to be a baby or a child to be impatient. Moms and dads and other grownups can be pretty impatient too. The reason is that patience and longsuffering go against our basic human nature.
• Now there’s a second reason why developing patience is difficult—because there are weeds of pride, selfishness, and anger that can choke out the fruit of longsuffering.
A couple of years ago a survey revealed that we have become an impatient and oftentimes angry nation. You see it at work. You see it in school. You see it on the highways.
Illus. – Once a man’s car stalled in heavy traffic just as the light turned green. All his frantic efforts to get the car started failed, and a chorus of honking horns behind him made matters worse. He finally got out of his car and walked back to the first driver behind him and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to get my car started. If you’ll go up there and give it a try, I’ll stay here and honk your horn for you.”