You are reading part four of a series of articles, if you have not read parts 1-3 please do so and return to this article.
Thank you for continuing to read these articles. By now you are aware that the body of Christ shares His DNA and that means individual Christians should all share the character of Jesus.
The DNA test will continue with Pauls letter to the Ephesians. In Eph 4:2 Paul was identifying what it looked like to walk worthy of the calling of God. This means he was identifying the character that identifies God’s children. In part 3 we discussed the character of lowliness (humility). This article will discuss longsuffering, which can also be called patience. Again it is not possible to identify as patient, but being patient in action will identify you as a patient person. I was curious to find some biblical examples of longsuffering/patience. Some suggest it means being slow to avenge a wrong.
How are you doing in the DNA test so far? Does longsuffering identify you as a child of God. Look further at the biblical examples of this character. Exodus 34:6 reads “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”. Most Christians are used to talking about Gods mercy, grace, & love; but rarely speak about his longsuffering. Consider how patiently God endured your sin while lovingly building a bridge for you to come to Him. God suffered your sinfulness and may be continuing to suffer long with you as you are misrepresenting Him in this world. Are you identifying as a Child of God while failing to demonstrate patience and longsuffering with others?
Be careful not to dismiss or excuse your lack of longsuffering because the people you are attacking, mocking, or speaking evil toward are deserving it. Consider 1Thessalonians 5:14 “14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” There is not BIBLICAL mandate to belittle people, or mistreat them. Perhaps you are saying well that is all good for those who can do it but I am just not able to be longsuffering with them. Then it is possible you have failed the DNA test and the Spirit of God is not in you! Are you willing to accept that conclusion? God’s Spirit dwelling in you, will live through you. In other words, He will generate longsuffering/ patience in you.
Before we conclude that you have failed the DNA test, it may be that the Holy Spirit does live in you and wants to live through you. Will you be willing to take another test? Come on it is worth your time. Here we go: Does this teaching convict you? Do you hear the voice of God calling you to repent of your behavior? If so I have good news for you. The choice is yours, you can yield to the Holy Spirit, repent of your mistreatment of others and determine to practice patience with them. Love your enemies as the Bible teaches (not in theory, but in action). In Galatians 5:22 longsuffering is named as one of the fruits of the Spirit. Decide today that you will submit to the Holy Spirit in this area.
Does this mean you are not allowed to call out sin? Not at all, 2 Timothy 4:2 says “…reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” These articles are examples of calling out sin, reproving, rebuking but with longsuffering and doctrine. Longsuffering does not ignore sin, or wrong it seeks to gain influence to correct it rather than destroy those who are in error.
The next article will examine forebearing one another in love from Ephesians 4:2