But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Spirit Fruit: Longsuffering
With each passing day, the world becomes a little older and its history longer. Known historical records date somewhere beyond five thousand years. While this seems infinitesimal to the staggering billions of years suggested by those who deny God, the span of man’s history is small compared to the eternal landscape stretching out before and after the existence of humanity. During this short time, God created the world, destroyed the world save eight souls, and has permitted humanity to engage in wars, destruction, wickedness, and for the majority of souls, deny the existence of God. Most of the world refuses to follow the teaching of the Lord. Many people follow other gods. All in all, the world has no desire to believe in or follow the grace of God. And yet, the world continues for a time.
Longsuffering is when love suffers long. The longsuffering of God is to understand how He allows the world to continue in the face of the world’s hatred of Him. He does not act according to the whims of human wisdom that would destroy the universe if given a chance. God’s love is beyond the comprehension of carnal men who thrive on personal pride. The love of God allows time to continue giving men an opportunity to find Him. If the wickedness of men were the gauge to destroy the world, it would have been destroyed long ago. Long-mindedness is where the Creator bears with the frailties and provocations of men. It is to this kind of love, the fruit of the Spirit implores the child of God to show longsuffering to others.
Life is filled with troubles and difficulties. It can be unfair and unjust at times. The fruit of the Spirit instills in the heart of a Christian the calm patience to endure the inequities of life, knowing that God sees and cares for His children. Longsuffering changes the outlook of life because the ‘up-look’ of life comes from the Holy Spirit. The world can only see despair, hatred, prejudice, misery, and life as a single moment with nothing beyond. For the Christian, life is about loving the unlovable, helping the defenseless, and praying for their enemies. David Lipscomb writes, “Love leads the Christian to bear with the mistakes and wrongs that grow out of weaknesses, infirmities, and evil designs of others.”
Longsuffering is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and its full worth cannot come but through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Human wisdom does not understand longsuffering. Without the divine morsel of patience, the Christian becomes like the world. It is a strong passion that brings men like Paul and Silas to sing in prison or for Peter to be awakened from a sound sleep with a death sentence hanging over him. Longsuffering is the love of Paul writing to the church at Corinth with all of its problems. Jesus gave an eternal example of longsuffering with His willing sacrifice on the cross. The church of Christ needs to be filled with longsuffering saints who look out for others more than themselves. This is how the Holy Spirit dwells in the child of God.