Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chapter 3 - Long-Suffering


    $ Galatians 5:22-26 and Colossians 3:12

Patience:  is the act of showing self-control, bearing pain or trials without complaint.
Long-Suffering: is long and patient endurance of an offense.

    Looking at these two definitions we see that these words are very similar, but have two defining features that make them very different.  Patience is like a child who waits for that toy at the end of the shopping trip and miraculously manages to wait without complaining or whining, its where someone shows that they can wait on something  perhaps sacrifice their want for next time in order to provide for someone else’s  need.  Long-suffering on the other hand is different, it does involve practicing self-control and it does involve waiting on something, but it throws something else into the mix, “endurance of an offense” this creates the picture for me of the person who is wronged by someone (in whatever way) and yet still responds with love, does nothing vengeful in response, nor does anything that will be unchrist-like they wait on the Lord’s justice and love just as we love the offender just as we love our family, friends, dog (people who we label as worthy of our love).   In all of this we can see that these two words are held together by two other elements we have already studied self-control and gentleness; it takes self-control to accomplish long-suffering and in that self-control it takes gentleness/meekness.  

   When have a Christ-like attitude, we need meekness when practicing self-control and long-suffering.  In order to be affect and successful we need to strip ourselves of our pride and love the person and respond with gentleness.  And these actions take self-control of the mind, heart, actions, and reactions.

   In Ephesians 4:1-3, the picture that is created for us is that we are to “bear” with each other in love, now that doesn’t create a picture of all rainbows, flowers, and unicorns, instead that creates the picture of solders not leaving a comrade behind even in the line of fire.  It creates the picture of the dog who always responds with love even when their owner ties it up and throws them in a dumpster.  Forgive me animal lovers, this breaks my heart too, even as I write that I shudder and give my dog a squeeze thinking that if anyone tried to do that to my baby I would take a baseball bat to their head.  However, the Bible says bear with each other in love.  I would find it very hard to forgive someone for tearing my baby from me.  However, think about it, long-suffering: enduring an offense.  As we read this scripture I want to ask you, if someone wronged you in a serious way (like hurting your dog) would you be able to forgive them and respond in love? 

Ephesians 4:1-3: I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

    In the Bible we are constantly told that Christ died so that we might live it also says in Hebrews 12:2 that “because of the joy set before him he endured the cross” so he saw us as something worth saving, but in this Christ displayed a tremendous amount of self-sacrifice (long-suffering) because he saw our potential instead of just our sin and he considered us worth it to him.  This is how I see Christ/ God’s sacrifice:   I visualize it as God reaching in and taking half his heart and putting it into the womb of a woman and watching it grow just knowing that it is going to die for the sins of others, for the world he created and loved, a world that had betrayed him and turned against him.   He knew that this sacrifice had to be made, even though his son was is completely innocent, blameless, complete perfection.   And then I see God experiencing his son’s pain as he died, because he felt it too, for his son was a part of himself.   Then I see God completely heart broken when he couldn’t even look at his son as he died because Jesus took on evil,  and because God is the complete opposite of evil  he couldn’t even look on his son… as his son took his last breath.   I can’t imagine how painful and heart breaking that would be for anyone, but especially God.   But that was the love he gave to us, that’s the love he has for us because that is how much worth he sees in this world.

  1 Peter 3: 18-21 (verse 18):  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…

     Along with Patience and Long-Suffering comes the word Diligence.   Christ displays a tremendous amount of diligence in everything he does and did, and right along with him we are called to do the same thing.

Diligence: Is a steady, earnest, and painstaking effort.

   It takes self-control and diligence to practice all of the fruits, especially long-suffering.  We are asked to be steadfast and to work for the glory of God, so realize my dear readers that God is calling us to be selfless and to reflect his love to his people.  Christ showed an overwhelming amount of love, now we are being called to put aside our pride, to humble ourselves and push through the hardship and love.  We are called to be genuinely kind and gentle, to push through it even when it hurts most.  Remember  dear readers that we are seeking rewards in heaven not on earth, however,  Christ does bless us in this lifetime too.

1 Corinthians 10:31: Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:23-25: And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done and there is no partiality. 

   So stay steadfast and be gentle, kind, and loving especially when it’s the hardest thing to do.

2 Peter 3:14-18 (14-15): Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation…

1 Corinthians 15:58: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

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