You are reading part 5 of Time for a DNA Test, if you have not read the first four please read them and return to this article.
I recently listened to a missions podcast where the speaker was a former missionary to Islamic countries. He related how many of the people in non-Christian countries generally associate everyone from a Christian country as being “Christian”. He shared his experience of being in one of those countries and people assuming he is Christian simply because the recognize he is American. The missionary found it necessary to ask them: “when you assume I am Christian what comes to mind?” or, “what do you think it means for me to be Christian”? He discovered many of them associate his nationality with Christianity. We may find it understandable that Muslims in a third world country are unable to discern the spiritual difference between a devoted Navy chaplain and a man who “cusses like a sailor”; however, there is no excuse for the number of church members in America who are unwilling, or unable, to identify a Christian by the fruit of the Spirit.
The DNA test is a way of allowing the bible to discern between those who associate with the religion of Christianity and those who share the DNA of God. This article takes a look at the term “forbearing one another in love” from Ephesians 4:2. Paul urged the Ephesians to walk worhty of their calling. Furthermore, he described what “walking worthy” looks like: to begin with Christians are humble; second Christians are meek; and third, longsuffering.
Finally, Paul calls on the Ephesians to practice forbearing one another in love. While longsuffering and forbearing are similar in thought there is a way to know the difference. Think of longsuffering as enduring a circumstance, such as a hardship or trial; and forbearing as being patient with a person.
Thankfully, God is both able and willing to forbear with us. In comparison to God, we are sinful, immature, ignorant, and often speak when we should be silent. Why does God forbear with us? He does it to give us a chance to repent of sin, mature in our faith, and grow out of ignorance unto godly wisdom. This may be difficult but take a moment to consider how many church leaders, church members, and Christian friends have demonstrated forbearance with you in love just to allow you to grow, keep you connected to the church, and let God develop your walk. The way Jesus forbear with the disciples is a great example of how forbearance in love allows others to develop and grow.
No church can develop more disciples of Jesus unless they are willing to forbear with them. The type of forbearing Paul is speaking of requires the assistance of the Holy Spirit to enable us. He says we are to do this in love. Anyone can say “I love my church family”, but only those who share the DNA of God can forbear with immature Christians, and help mentor them to maturity, gentleness, and wisdom.
Just for fun, or maybe not so much fun, how would you rate yourself in forbearance (in love)? 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10? What is your number and what can you do to increase that number? If you think this is not worth the effort just consider two things? (1) God forbears with you even today? (2) you would not be the Christian you are today without the forbearance of others toward you. Now you share Gods DNA and you can do this!