Monday, February 17, 2014

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is...Grapefruit?!

So the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace and Longsuffering. Stevie asked me the other day what is longsuffering? Longsuffering is kind of like grapefruit. Grapefruit is a hard fruit to eat. For me anyway. I love it. And it is supposed to be healthy. (Isn’t there a grapefruit diet?) But it’s hard. Cut it in half and eat it with a spoon and stingy juice will squirt in your eye. Peel it and eat it like an orange and you have quite a mess with the peelings and the skins. But I love it and so I put up with the mess. Likewise Longsuffering is a hard fruit of the Spirit. So what is longsuffering? It is, of course, patience and endurance. Listen to James explain this concept...

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:3-4 (NLT)

The word for complete here means mature. God's goal for us is that we be mature Believers; and complete patience makes for a mature Christian. So why do we need longsuffering? Well, troubles and troublemakers are in our lives to develop patience, perseverance, and persistence. It is by patience we see God's work in us, and it is by perseverance we learn God's will for us.

Do you know why longsuffering is so hard? Because it involves waiting. I am convinced one of the most difficult things to do in life is wait. We wait at red-lights, we wait in line at Wal Mart, we wait for football season to get here, and when it is here we wait for Saturday! But we HATE to WAIT!!! We are a culture that exists on instant satisfaction. Microwave popcorn, fast food, instant Lotto tickets, and (as Luke has discovered) TV dinners. For our culture waiting is a difficult, if not an impossible thing to achieve.

The other day I watched Amazing Grace, the movie about William Wilberforce. If you haven’t seen the movie you should. He spent 50 years in politics with one thing in mind, one goal, abolish slavery in England. On his deathbed, he learned that parliament passed the law. He never gave up. He knew some things are worth fighting for. Some things require endurance and patience, and...oh, my...Longsuffering. Do we have that type of patience, that ability to see a tough issue through to the end.

James goes on to say, “be patient until the coming of the Lord.” (vs 7) The only reason the world is still here is not because God is powerless, nor is it because God is passive; it is because God is patient. He is longsuffering. Jesus is coming back. Make no doubt about it, that is His promise. The question is, what are we doing while we wait? Be patient with others and spread the good news of Jesus Christ and His Amazing Grace!


read more about William Wilberforce here: