“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering “
The fifth garment of spirituality the believer is to “put on” is “longsuffering.”
“Longsuffering” is self-restraint. The believer holds steady in the face of provocation (Co 1:11). Although we have the power to take revenge, we do not exercise that authority. Though we might be tempted to resent someone for what they have done to us, we choose not to become resentful or take action against them.
Longsuffering is patience for the long haul. Most of us can suffer trials for short periods. Few can endure pressure or hardship for long. The idea of “longsuffering” is the need to have the courage for the ongoing problem. A longsuffering believer orients to stress and adversity over the long haul. When great difficulty persists, does the Christian manifest patience under pressure?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22,23).
“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Col. 1:11).
Longsuffering is the capacity to suffer a long time without provocation.
Scripture associates longsuffering with “hope” in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and “mercy” in Romans 2:4; 1 Peter 3:20.
God is longsuffering with us (Romans 2:4; 9:22). Why should God not ask the same of us (James 5:7-11)?
Despair, bitterness, or cynicism does not drive the longsuffering person. He does not succumb under duress. He holds self-restraint in the face of provocation. He withholds retaliation toward others and is not prompt to punish them. Longsuffering is patience through long sequential stages of a trial.
One of the most challenging character traits to develop in our character is the ability to endure offense against us for a long time. That is one of the hardest things God calls upon us to do. Many of us can put up with provocation if it is not for very long. God wants us to suffer long both the mischief of men and the rebukes of God’s providential working.
God cannot bless us by suffering in eternity because there will be no suffering in heaven. God can only bless us by longsuffering through suffering in time. Now is our chance to live like God would have us live.