Are you being fruitful? Are you growing? Is your fruit helping and blessing those around you? I certainly hope that this series on the fruit of the Spirit is helping you do just that! So in keeping with the series, today’s post is all about forbearance and long-suffering (Patience), but not in the normally understood sense of these synonymous words.
I don’t know about you, but as this series progresses, it seems as if each aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is building on the last. We are now on forbearance or long-suffering, which for me is built on joy and peace, coming from the root of love! Let me explain? So often I think, we view long-suffering as what someone who is battling a disease or is in some terrible circumstances for whatever reason endures. Now this certainly a part of it, however I am going to focus on the aspect which I, as well as many others often forget about. That being the forbearance or long-suffering of a dry season.
Let me start off by stating as 2 Corinthians 9:8 says
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
We shall never be in lack. So then why do we have dry seasons, seasons of long-suffering with nothing seeming to happen? I believe it is because God is with holding the rain of blessing until our character has strengthened. Until we have reached the place where we can carry the new weight of blessing which He will give us, yet still glorify Him. This is why humility is such a big thing! If we get the blessing too soon, we might be tempted to say that we achieved, that we succeeded, that we did it, but truth be told if we are humble we will realise that God has His mighty hand in it all.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we have to work for our blessings. Our Father loves us so much that He has already blessed us. Genesis 1;28 tells us so, “God blessed them” He will meet our needs as any loving father would meet their son or daughter’s needs. Philippians 4:19 reassures us, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” So we are blessed. What I am saying then is this, that we all have to go through seasons. If we want to see the fruit, one must first go through the winter before summer can come, else there would be no time to prepare for the growing of fruit. It is the same in nature. A tree that needs a winter to collect nutrients will not fruit if it experiences a constant summer.
As children of God, we need to realise that in our winters, we need to be collecting the lessons God is teaching us. We need to be preparing for what is coming. God will use what we experienced in the winter to grow the blessings of the summer. Sound strange? Think about it like this, a tree without fruit blesses no one, and isn’t a tree that many want in there lives. The same tree in summer however, is able to bless others with fruit that helps them grow, provide shade that can protect as well as receives comments, such as “Is that the same tree that looked dead a few months ago?” It is comments such as these that lead to God being glorified, because as Christians, we can say that yes, we are the same tree, and that yes God can turn any situation around!
Never look at something that seems dead and assume it is dead, for one does not know what is going on in the inside!
Another aspect I want to bring up, which relates to the last post about peace, is that we need to trust God’s timing. When we don’t patiently endure (The definition of long-suffering), we are saying that we believe our timing is better than that of God’s, which is far from true. This is why I would never want to end God’s long-suffering season prematurely in my life, but on the other side, when God says it is time, time to grow and be fruitful, I do not want to be stuck in my old ways unable to get out of winter, not because of anything to do on God’s side, but because I was not trying, because I had not properly prepared. We need to have the buds on our branches ready to open when the time is right, but if we will not even do this, how do we expect to get out of the winter of our lives?
So what are these buds we need to push out? Well I certainly don’t mean try and push against God’s timing, but I do think we need to actively be doing something, even if it is on the inside. We need to be trying to get our lives in order, fix the things that need fixing, mend the hurts of the past so that when the time comes to blossom and fruit, we are not worrying about these things, but are rather focused on the task at hand of growing so that we can become as big as possible to give God the most glory we can! Something else we should be doing in winter; sowing seeds. Seeds are sown before the ideal growing time. Why, for the reason mentioned above, so that when it comes time to grow, the seed is already waiting, patiently, peacefully dormant until the time is right.
So let me practically relate this to love for you. You see, sowing the seeding, loving when one should hate, might not seem to do anything now, but if we keep at it, the harvest will come. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient“ verse 7 goes on to say, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” All a description of what it means to get through long-suffering. So if we have love, we shall have the fruit of the Spirit of long-suffering. A further encouragement for us in long-suffering comes in 1 Corinthians 1:7, “Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” We do not lack the ability to persevere and patiently wait for His timing, and wait we must! However waiting does not mean we do nothing. When you are in the queue waiting to pay, at the least you are ordering your thoughts, but you might use your time to maybe respond to messages on your phone or do even more. Just because we are waiting, doesn’t mean we can’t do anything.
I’ll say it again, because it is something that I find many people don’t realise, and it irritates me that they could be so much more if they did something. Just because we are waiting, doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. Do something! Now you may say, “But I don’t know what to do, where to start?” The simple answer is this, start with what God has placed in your heart. Do that, which He has already told you in your heart that you can do. Obey Him, do it now, for delayed obedience is disobedience. God wants you to get ready for the next season of your life, so start today by preparing that which he has told you to do.
Ok so I know that was a bit all over the place, but I hope it inspires and helps you. For those of you who skipped reading everything and just scrolled to the end 😉 here is a summary for you.
- Every season is there for a reason, including the winters in our lives.
- We are already blessed.
- Long-suffering is merely a season of preparation for our futures.
- We need to use our fruit to glorify God.
- We need to be ready to step into His blessing when He calls us, in His timing.
- Never look at something that seems dead and assume it is dead, for one does not know what is going on in the inside!
- Just because we are waiting, doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. (Do something, sow a seed)
Part one – The power of fruit, how that makes sense…
Part two – The power of fruit, oh joy?!
Part three – The power of fruit, don’t throw it at me, I come in peace
Part four – The power of fruit, caught…