“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”
The second triad of a Spirit-filled believer is directed toward others.
A person with “longsuffering” has a sense of forbearance, patience, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, and endurance. This person is slow to avenge wrongs done to him. Longsuffering carries the idea of patience toward people under provocation. It will not retaliate when treated unjustly.
There is another Greek word that means maintaining patience under heavy circumstances. There are then two terms for “longsuffering” or “patience.” One has to do with longsuffering with circumstances, and the other has to do with longsuffering with people. Our term is longsuffering with people.
A longsuffering person is a person who is slow to anger and is anxious to forgive injuries. He has more capacity to put up with personal insults. People cannot easily offend a longsuffering person.
God Himself carries the characteristic of longsuffering in His soul (Romans 2:4; 9:22; 1 Peter 3:20). Jesus as well is patient (1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Peter 3:15).
The Spirit-filled believer has a sense of calm in the face of provocation, a capacity to defer anger.
Spirit-filled believers have a sense of calm in the face of provocation. They do not complain about other people, nor do they allow themselves to become irritated. They have the capacity to defer anger and are willing to accept pain inflicted by others (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12; 1 Timothy 1:15, 16).
Longsuffering is the steadfastness of the soul under adversity. This person manifests the quality of forbearance under provocation from others. It does not retaliate even when wrongfully mistreated.
“My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience” (James 5:10).
Longsuffering entertains no thoughts of retaliation even when wrongfully treated. This is a person with a long temper.
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
Chrysostom said, “It is the grace of the man who could revenge himself and who does not, of the man who is slow to wrath.” That is like God, for He could have wiped man off the face of the globe for his sin, but He did not. It is incumbent upon us to long hold out our anger before taking action. If we defer anger, we can characterize ourselves as longsuffering. Those who are short-tempered do not suffer others very long. Longsuffering carries the qualities of forbearance and patient endurance.
How do you endure exasperating people? Do you lash back and bash them with words? So many of us suffer shortly when it comes to our family, “Well, I told her a hundred times that I don’t like the sport’s page detached from the front page!”
God expects us to suffer long even if the cause is just, that is, your wife may be a nag or your husband may be a slob! “You do not know the jerk that attends my church. He gripes about everything. His personality rasps me. His character is in the negative case. He has never had a positive thought in his life. He always gripes about how the church is run.” The Bible tells us to put up with them.
Suffering people difficult because they hit us in the area of our preferences toward life. It touches the world where we live. You say, “But he is a personality assassin.” God gives no exceptions for longsuffering. Suffer them long. Keep your attitude in a state of prolonged freedom from revenge.
The length of our patience with people determines the measure of our spirituality. Take the guff. Keep your mouth shut. Bitterness or retaliation never improves anything. A long temper always gains victory over the short temper. The quality of self-restraint does not punish others. It is not hasty to retaliate. It does not surrender to adverse persons or succumb to duress.
“Love suffers long…” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Love does not repay hate for hate or scorn for scorn. Anyone can answer a fool according to his folly. It takes two to tango, and it takes two to make a quarrel. That is why God asks us to be looooong suffering. It is the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit of the capacity to suffer for a long time.
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3).
Most believers have a low boiling point. That means that most of us boil most of the time. To counteract this, the Holy Spirit produces longsuffering in us.
God took an oath that every born-again person will be just like the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:29). He inaugurates this the moment we become Christians and keeps working on it until we meet Him face to face. The sin of short temperedness shortcuts this process. It is time to stop blaming others, no matter if we believe that we are right. The sooner we come to that position, the sooner we will get squared away with God. The fruit of the Spirit of longsuffering is available to us if we allow the Holy Spirit to control us.