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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)

Next in our list of the fruits of the Spirit is longsuffering.

Longsuffering is the first in the section of the fruits that are about our relationship with the people around us. I get a chuckle every time I think of this, that the first quality in this section is patience!

What is longsuffering? To summarize a few definitions, longsuffering literally means "long-tempered," and it is the quality of self-restraint in the middle of a situation that might provoke hostility or retaliation. It is the opposite of anger and is associated with mercy and a slowness in avenging wrongs.

What does it look like? In the Old Testament, we have a great example of longsuffering in the life of King David, a "man after God's own heart." On more than one occasion Saul tried to kill David. Still, even though David had opportunities, he would not take vengeance on Saul. In other examples, God was patient with mankind in the days of Noah, and in his dealings with the nation of Israel. Fortunately He is patient with us today (Rom. 2:4).

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Chad Prince
(Oxford, AL)


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