Hang in There! Developing Patience

Maria I. MorganBlog Archive, Understanding God's Character

Hang in There! Developing Patience (Part 2)

Last week we discovered some things about longsuffering (patience). We learned:

  • it’s patient endurance in the face of suffering
  • it doesn’t come naturally
  • it’s often the tough times that develop this fruit of the Spirit

If you’re like me, you’re still not jumping up and down waiting to be picked for a trial so you can display a longsuffering nature. Am I right?

Today we’ll get a slightly different take on this subject – straight from God’s Word.

I don’t want you to miss the longsuffering nature of our amazing God.

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Ready? Let’s dive in!

Here’s part 2 from my Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful, on the subject of longsuffering (patience).

A Word from God’s Word:

Today’s news can get pretty discouraging. A day doesn’t go by without crime or violence making the headlines.

The same was true in Noah’s day; in fact, it was much worse. God saw everything that was happening:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.Genesis 6:5

He would send a flood to destroy His creation – both man and animals. Before you start thinking this judgment was too harsh, consider the facts:

  • God was willing to spare those who trusted in Him. (Genesis 6:8,14)
  • God was longsuffering. (Genesis 6:3)

It’s His nature

I don’t know about you, but I think 120 years is a mighty long time to put up with man’s wickedness. God’s longsuffering nature is seen over and over in His Word. The apostle Peter explains the reason behind this characteristic:

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

In spite of the hideousness of man’s sin, God wanted to give him every opportunity to repent – 120 years to repent. You can’t get more longsuffering than that.

A big boat

Building a massive boat in the dessert had to be quite a spectacle. Since it had never rained before, I’m sure Noah’s construction project got more than a little attention. With a ready-made audience, Noah had plenty of opportunities to preach to the people about their sin and God’s upcoming judgment. Would they listen?

After 120 long years, the ark was finished. Soon after Noah was done, big, wet drops began to fall from the sky. The people, who had mocked Noah and laughed at him, probably looked up with concern. As the rain continued, I can only imagine how many men, women, and children raced to the big boat, hoping there was still time to get on board. But God had already closed the door (Genesis 7:16).

The survivors

Only 8 people chose to enter the ark: Noah and his wife, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives (Genesis 7:13). In His omniscience, God had known all along that only Noah and his family would believe Him, yet in His patience God gave man plenty of time to turn to Him.

God’s longsuffering nature is still evident today. He gives believers the privilege to share His truth with people everywhere:

God’s longsuffering nature is still evident today.

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But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.1 Thessalonians 2:4

Thank God for His patience in your life. Embrace the challenges you’re facing, knowing He is developing the quality of longsuffering in you. Look for ways you can share this truth today.

A Time to Reflect

Are you going through a trial? How can it develop patience in you? Plan to share God’s truth about this fruit of the Spirit with one person this week. How did the person respond? Share your answers in the comments below.

Can I pray for you?

Heavenly Father, Thank You for demonstrating Your longsuffering nature over and over. Help me realize the trials I go through are designed to help me develop this fruit of the Spirit. Give me the boldness to share Your truth with others, and the grace to be patient when they don’t respond favorably. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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*Longsuffering is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. Next week we’ll continue to focus on this topic. If you’re interested in studying the fruit of the Spirit in greater detail, I’ve written a 10-week Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful, you can pick up here.

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