The Fruit of the Spirit is…LONG-SUFFERING

22 Jun

pruning“The fruit of the Spirit is…long-suffering…” Galatians 5:22

The bearing of any kind of fruit takes patience and often pain because pruning is a necessary part of the growth process. If we desire the fruit of the Spirit, we must endure the pruning process. We must allow Him to rid us of anything that would hinder the growth of any of these fruits, and often the process is a painful one! In the midst of this process, there is the very present temptation of becoming bitter and resentful, but this verse tells us that we can, as Christians, face it with “long-suffering.”

The word “long-suffering” comes from the Greek word ‘mathrothmia,’ meaning longanimity, forbearance, fortitude, patience.After discovering this, I then had to look up “longanimity.” The definition of this word being, ‘the patient enduring of hardship, injuries, or offense’ brought me back to the first passage that was on my mind this morning as I awoke.

“Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing.” James 1:3-4

James tells us to “let” patience accomplish spiritual growth in our lives! We must choose to allow it’s “perfect work” to be worked out. We can resist the pruning, or we can respond to it. Just like choosing to love the unlovable, to joy in the sometimes not so joyful journey, and to let the peace of God rule in our often anxious and worrisome hearts are choices we must make, choosing to be “long-suffering” is also a choice!

God won’t force us to be “long-suffering,” but that’s what He wants for us. He doesn’t want us to settle for the sulking that can so often accompany the pruning. He wants us to soar on the wings of eagles! He wants us to “wait” on Him as He accomplishes His perfect work. (Isaiah 40:31) He wants us to be “wanting” (lacking) nothing of spiritual value so He’s loving enough to perform the pruning though it may bring pain for a time. He wants us to allow Him to dull the sharpness of the pruning shears with the sweetness of His Spirit. Whether He’s using difficult people or something more serious like a difficult season in our lives, His goal is to cultivate the fruit of “long-suffering,” not to make our lives miserable, but to make us more like Christ!

But the wonderful thing about all of the “fruit of the Spirit” is that they are not things He leaves us to accomplish on our own, but that they are just that, “of the Spirit” and not of ourselves! We don’t have to wander blindly through our Christian lives attempting to cultivate these fruits for He has called us “out of darkness into his marvellous light!” (1 Peter 2:9) He has given us an “example that (we) should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)

Just as He quietly took our punishment in Pilate’s hall choosing not to open His mouth (Matt. 27:27-31, Is. 53:7) we should choose to take the opposition we may face from others with “long-suffering.” Just as our Heavenly Father is “long-suffering to us-ward” (2 Peter 3:9), we should choose to be “long-suffering” regardless of what the pruning process entails.

As He lovingly cuts away that which is unneccessary and hindering to our growth, we can trust that a beautiful result is to come! The pruning is to produce the “fruit of the Spirit” that we might be “filled with the fruit of righteousness unto the glory and praise of God!” (Phil. 1:11) Though we will never reach a point where the pruning is no longer needed considering that we are to be ever growing in His grace and knowlege (2 Peter 3:18), we can rest assured that His skillful Hands are performing that which is best for us!

 

 

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