Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1 Timothy 1:16 KJV)
God has given mankind the perfect pattern for living a successful spiritual life since the beginning. God provided patterns for Adam and eve, for Noah, then a pattern for the temple, the priests, and for worship, and shed blood sacrifices for sin in the Old Testament.
The New Testament included a new pattern . God provided a living sacrifice for the removal of sin and for eternal life by offering His only Son Jesus Christ’s shed blood, once for all sacrifice, for sin. God provided this pattern for His New Testament church, and for our practical living of a godly life in this new Age of Grace which is the age in which we currently reside upon this earth.
God knows mankind is far from perfect and unable to fulfill God’s perfect pattern or will for their lives in their own natural strength, and must rely upon His supernatural presence and power by placing faith in His will and way as they sojourn on this earth.
However, just like in times past times of persecution and dismal personal failure did dot the lives of God’s saints in all eras of biblical times. God knows that mankind will fall and fail miserably in seasons of his life in this world today as well.
God’s Word says:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28-29 KJV)
LONGSUFFERING is a fruit or essence of godliness of God’s Spirit. It is not so much about getting caught up in the accounting time as man accounts of time in hours, minutes, and days, as he spiritually suffers persecution or is made to wait in “God’s Waiting Room” as time seems to drag by. Rather emphasis is to be placed upon man’s demeanor and attitude as he patiently waits, or is LONGSUFFERING, or remain patient for God’s perfect timing and will in his life and working in the lives of others in his midst.
Godly grace naturally adorns, or cloaks the regenerated man, working from inside his heart outward. The saved man finds he has no other logical spiritual choice but to patiently in “God’s Waiting Room” in order to be pleasing and honoring to God, which is always the primary desire of the heart of those who have been spiritually quickened alive in Christ. Life becomes all about serving and honoring God and not any longer all about self.
LONGSUFFERING is godly spiritual perseverance which is adorned or “frosted’ with grace. What the law of God cannot accomplish alone the grace of God does. Having grace is putting on God’s best character or manner possible through the indwelling of the supernatural grace of God. This is applying “spiritual grit” or having supernatural perseverance. God’s grace affords man to remain calm and spiritually agile, cloaked securely in God’s supernatural power, in the midst of any circumstance whether it be pleasant or unpalatable with contrary winds building and brewing about as a full blown storm looms upon the horizon.
This behavior does not come naturally, or as an instinctive indwelling nature of man. LONGSUFFERING cannot be artificially created or contrived through any striving or desire of man. Unregenerate men exist spiritually bankrupt and in a constant state of turmoil compounded with heightened anxiety, impatience, annoyance, exasperation, and confusion brewing inside their heart in relation to trials and circumstances in their life. Feelings of edginess, impatience, and frustration are all natural born reactions from a man with a hardened heart condition, who is consistently generating rotten fruit in his life rather than bearing a bountiful harvest of succulent fruit. Bearing good fruit comes only from having the supernatural spirit of God at work in their softened heart and filled to over flowing with forbearance and joy despite the circumstances of life.
The spiritual man will be naturally be led by the flesh on occasion having issues with a short fuse. This causes him to have an impatient attitude in God’s “waiting Room” igniting sparks in his heart. This is an intermittent or temporary issue, not a drawn out situation permitted to take root and grow flourishing within his heart. Rather this condition is a matter quickly addressed by the Holy Spirit in man’s conscious and quickly surrendered or given over to God for His control and fire suppressant management. God can extinguish the possibility of a spiritual fire quickly raging out of control in the center of man’s heart.
LONGSUFFERING is an act of extending unconditional love towards others, rather than always in inward focus on our own life, to those who find themselves washed up on the beach of life, desperate and without hope. It is a generous action fueled by love and graciously handed to strangers, or to brothers and sisters in Christ who are immature or lacking conviction and struggling in their walk with God along the narrow pathway. LONGSUFFERING is graciously extended towards anyone who is in need. Christlikeness and unconditional love can make a difference to anyone who is struggling, desperate, down, and utterly hopeless in this world; no matter their inward heart condition. LONGUSFFERING can help steer carnal Christians towards right fellowship with God. LONGSUFFERING can swing open a door to witness to a lost soul harboring darkness who God has placed upon our pathway.
It is important to keep focused on the “big spiritual picture” and knowing that God is always merciful, LONGSUFFERING and gracious towards man, and this includes me and you! LONGSUFFERING is never offered as tolerance or as an excuse for sinful behavior. God has a clear plan in place in His Word for dealing with the nature of sin. His spiritual plan begins by the sowing of His seed and giving clear testimony of God’s LONGSUFFERING and spiritual work in your life for others to see and hear who God has divinely placed before you desperately needing to hear the gospel message. Those who truly profess a relationship with Christ also will innately desire to worship, witness and model His spiritual characteristics.
This world is fast paced and can be quite challenging to navigate, especially to those who aspire to live sold out for Christ rather than ascribing to the dark and evil agenda of the god of this world. The god of this world’s dark agenda is based upon living life in the “fast lane” rather than forbearing one another, having patience, extending unconditional love and being LONGSUFFERING to another. One of satan’s favorite ploys is to push and prod mankind to live hastily and hurried lives, adhering to his rash and impulsive timetable, intolerant to anyone who desires to uphold patience and godliness promoting LONGSUFFERING; whether it be for self or others.
God is never limited by the framework of time and space in this world because He is never bound by anything originating with mankind or boxed in by any earthly restraints such as time and place. God operates in His own sense of timing, as He works in man and through man, according to His perfect will for any situation at hand. God never looks at a man-made clock or calendar to bring about His will and way.
Satan’s agenda opposes or harasses anyone who is content, peaceful, and spiritually satisfied in “God’s waiting Room” or who lives according to God’s timing and way rather than encouraging one to “put up with” or forbear another.
However, LONGSUFFERING is a fruit of God’s Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV)
God gave us His Word along with spiritual forbearance, armor, and weaponry bringing about spiritual fortitude and protection in our walk with Him. Paul introduces these spiritual battle accouterments in the book of Ephesians which are intended for use in every spiritual battle we face, just as Jesus Christ modeled for us as He lived in the flesh upon this earth.
Jesus had spiritual skirmishes with satan standing face to face with him in a dry spiritual desert. Jesus was in a humanly weakened and vulnerable state, but enjoyed spiritual victory in every battle on this earth because He was the Son of God as He stood upon this earth in a tent of flesh having supernatural power of God working in Him and through Him. Jesus answered satan’s every attempt to lead Him to choose to sin with “It is written…”Quoting God’s Word quenches the power of satan instantly. You and I have that same supernatural power readily available today by quoting the Word of God in the midst of our spiritual battles.
Satan used three tactics when tempting Jesus to sin. He still tries to entice man to sin by encouraging him to wander into evil and darkness through inconspicuous backstreets and alleys. Alleys quickly veer off unsuspectingly into inroads of the pride of life, lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes, serving to weaken and mow down man’s spiritual resolve if they are not stand strong and covered in the supernatural power of God.
LONGSUFFERING requires man to remain spiritually strong in Christ all areas of life: along the narrow way, alleys, backstreets, mountain tops and valleys of life. When we cannot see a clear path with our limited human vision we must remain faithfully steadfast and secure in Him. God can see the entire journey ahead with His unrestricted divine view point. Often all we can see is a short distance in front of us. This is like being caught in a spiritual blizzard during white out conditions and having God commandeer us along His pathway in unpleasant circumstances at hand. Having an attitude of LONGSUFFERING on board our heart, no matter our circumstances at hand, allows us to remain calm in the midst of the storm allowing God to work in us and through us according to His will for our life.
Without a doubt the greatest biblical examples of LONGSUFFERING are those that God the Father and His Son Jesus laid forth for mankind on a personal level since the beginning. God has always been patient with mankind refusing to bring the hammer of the wages of sin down upon man willing to be LONGSUFFERING so that as many men as possible can be saved. God was patient with man through the works of Noah who, without doubt, was busy building the ark through great faith in God. Noah constructed the ark, according to the pattern God set forth, for man’s ultimate protection in the coming spiritual storm and for preservation of life for both humans and creatures. God waited and waited and waited; LONGSUFFERING towards mankind desiring that all men would come to the ark of salvation.
God is the ultimate picture of LONGSUFFERING, both in the time of Noah, and today.
The Bible says:
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (Psalm 86:15 KJV)
God does not have just a little taste of LONGSUFFERING, among all of His other His other characteristics, God is encompassed by this fruit as it spills out of Him graciously giving new life to any man who is willing to come unto Him.
God desires man embrace Him rather than blindly following after the evil and darkness of this world. He inspired Paul to write:
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (Ephesians 4:1-2 KJV)
Paul lived sold out to the will of God for his new life in Christ. After his great spiritual humbling along the road to Damascus he strongly desired others in his midst would make a choice to serve God from a softened and humble heart. He was sent on many missions for God with great patience and forbearance for anyone who was caught up in sin and serving the evil agenda of the god of this world.
Paul understood that God had been very patient and LONGSUFFERING with him before he personally came to know for himself the spiritual things of God, accepting them for his own life and choosing to view the nature of sin as God views it and repenting of his sin. Paul used to find much enjoyment in pursuing, harassing, and persecuting anyone who placed faith in God by choosing to work in enmity to the things of God. The Damascus Road event, where Paul came to know the Gospel message for himself, the desires of his heart were supernaturally transformed to agree with the will of God for his life and changing his personal view of sin to agree with the righteousness of God.
Paul was supernaturally strengthened by the power of God through prayer and with The Spirit dwelling and working inside of him to give him strength and power manifesting His essence or character outwardly towards others in a godly manner worthy of God’s honor and glory and following His plan for his life. This godly persona was with Paul on His missionary journeys and as in physical danger or as he was confined in jail. Paul was always busy about the things of God no matter his circumstances in life.
Paul wrote a letter to the Colossian Church including a prayer for the believers in this church for their continued strength and for putting on spiritual principles of God with joy including LONGSUFFERING:
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (Colossians 1:11 KJV)
Later in this same letter Paul was inspired to encourage the believers to not only put these spiritual principles inside their heart but to also place these godly principles in action in their life. Possessing God’s essence or fruit in your heart is not enough, it must be active or working in you and through you reaching out to touch the lives of others in your midst with the gospel message of Christ. God does not want mankind to be silent and sober with the message of His great unconditional love and mercy. God desires mankind will be eager to spread the gospel message, like the woman at the well in John chapter four, who hurriedly set her pitcher down to run into town to tell many others about this man Jesus.
Paul was inspired to instruct these believers in this letter to put on or put forth these godly characteristics in their own lives. Paul was calling for action! Paul was encouraging believers in the Colossian Church to get busy practically with the very essence of God working in them and through them for others to see and desire for themselves:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (Colossians 3:12 KJV)
Just talking to others about the character of God, but not putting these same righteous qualities to work in your own life, does not bring honor and glory to God or help sow seeds of the gospel message, but rather it is just vain talk or empty words or amounts to “spiritual fluff” without proof or substance in your life.
God desires that man instill His Word as a necessary way of life in this world coupled together with His unconditional love and LONGSUFFERING for instructing His saints:
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV)
Finally, God desires for all men, not just a few elect,2nd Timothy 2:4, to come to their own personal salvation. This desire compels God to be patient and LONGSUFFERING so that all men, through their own freewill, will come unto the saving knowledge of God through His Son Jesus Christ. God does not want to shut the ark door until all who will find refuge in Him are aboard the ark.
His Word says:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 KJV)
However, Jesus Christ will come back to this earth for His own spiritual family the brothers and sisters in Christ one day real soon to usher them into the heavenly eternal realm. God intimately desires to greet mankind with “Well done, good and faithful servant …” as they enter into the eternal realm forevermore.