Do you have the characteristic of longsuffering? Are you currently experiencing longsuffering, and wondering how can your outlook change? Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” – 1 Peter 4:16 (NKJV)
Many people are often surprised that longsuffering is one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. The question often asked is, “What does longsuffering really mean?” It is simply to suffer for a long time. So, does this mean if one is walking in the Spirit, he or she should be able to endure suffering for an extended period of time?
The answer is yes. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Peter puts it this way,
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)
James, Jesus’ brother, puts it this way,
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” – James 1:2-3 (NKJV)
And Jesus says,
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NKJV)
Longsuffering means the ability to endure wrong or difficult situations for an extended period of time without compromising your core values. In other words, when life deals you a bad hand; when things are not going well at home through no fault of your own; when you face challenges in your business and you are doing everything you know to do but the problems seem to go on forever; if you endure, remain patient, stay the course, and do not compromise your values, you have suffered long. You may say, “This is not possible. Can anyone go through extended challenges or difficulties and remain faithful to their core values?” The answer is yes you can and you must; this is what it means to be a Christian.
Consider Job, a wealthy and honourable businessman who feared God but was attacked by Satan with God’s permission. Though Job is a righteous man, Satan challenges God stating the only reason Job is faithful to Him is because God placed a hedge of protection around him, his household, and his possessions (Job 1:9-10). The Lord, therefore, removes the hedge of protection from around him and gives Satan permission to attack him with one exception; he could not lay hands on Job himself. As a result, Job loses everything, including his children (Job 1:12 – 19). Though this brings Job into a season of longsuffering, he does not sin or charge God with wrong; rather, he states:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1:21 (NKJV)
Even after this, the devil seeks permission to attack his body and health, which the Lord grants him and still Job remains faithful before God (he suffers long). Although his wife tells him to curse God and his friends say he must have done something wrong, Job’s stance is reflected in these words,
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God.” – Job 19:25-26 (NKJV)
In the end, God restores everything that Job lost and blesses him with more than he had before. Of course, not all longsuffering will end up the way that Job’s ended, nor are all sufferings an attack of the devil. There are times when we go through longsuffering due to our own sin such as in the case of Jonah, or as a test from God such as in the case of Joseph. No matter the reason for your longsuffering, choose to react this way:
If it is due to your own sin, repent
Count it all joy (Keep a positive mental attitude)
Meditate upon Scripture (Stand on God’s promises)
Be thankful for who God is and His promises
Pray for the grace to enable you to bear the challenge
Pray for the wisdom to learn from it
Guard your heart and mind against negativity
My prayer for you today is that God would grant you the grace to count it all joy when you’re going through longsuffering as well as the wisdom to learn from it.
Reflection: Are the 7 ways to react of help to you? Write it down and apply in your journey
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Copyright ©Patrice Tsague - NPIM