Friday, May 23, 2014

STOP! Hey, What's That Sound?

Galatians 5:22
But The fruit of the Spirit is.....................Longsuffering.

Christian character is not mere moral or legal correctness, but the possession and manifestation of nine graces: Scofield.

Longsuffering.....strange word.
Even as I typed this in, my computer underlined it as a misspelled word.
The computer did not recognize the word "longsuffering". It wanted to break it up into two words. Long and suffering. 
I think that speaks volume about our society.
We don't recognize the attribute of this fruit of the Holy Spirit.

We cringe at the word because it contains "Suffering", and we definitely want no part of that.

The word translated (by Strong's concordance) means be in a state of long enduring temper. In other words, this term, longsuffering, means to have a fixed resolve to wait even when everything around you says that you should act. We should get a little riled up when influence to ditch God comes at us from every direction.

The voices begin to pile up in our minds....
"You'll be sorry you waited. You're going to miss it!"
"God will understand"
"God has left the building and He doesn't care one bit about you."
And on and on the litany of accusations go.
Bombarding us like a hailstorm.
Maybe that is where the idea of "being in a state of tempered anger" comes from.
We turn our anger toward the world that is trying to persuade us to act outside the will of God.

We have to remember that this particular attitude, Longsuffering, originates in the character of God. It is who God is. It is what God does. It is God.
In Exodus 34:6 we read about an encounter Moses had with God. Moses has broken the original tablets that God wrote the law on. Now he, Moses, has brought two more tablets up on the mountain to meet with God. As God comes down, there is a proclamation that breaks forth and is announced to Moses. 
And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth."
These aren't just nice platitudes spoken to fill up time and space. They are a declaration of who God is, and how He interacts with us, His creation. Take a look at the list.
1.) Merciful and gracious: right off the bat, we see that God extends to that which we do not deserve to receive. The perfect, holy, righteous God says "Here, I want you to have this. I know you've done wrong. I know that you have inherited a sin/nature from being a descendant of Adam, but I want you to receive from Me." Mercy is also God keeping from us the very thing we do deserve. God has extended eternal life to us. God has offered us an opportunity to live in relationship with Him. Then He turns around and keeps from us the very thing that we do deserve. The very thing that we have earned. That would be hell and eternal separation from Him.

Now, with that being a defining attribute of God, we see that He is longsuffering. In other words, He is patiently waiting for us to shuck off our old nature and embrace Him and His offer for a new way to live. When we finally do accept this new life then, through the work of His Holy Spirit, our character is being transformed to be like His character. We are finding out that we are called to longsuffering. Learning to wait on God. 
Maybe that is what life is all about.
This ongoing transformation under the direction of God's Holy Spirit so that we can be more like our elder brother, Jesus.
So that we CAN be salt and light to a world that has no flavor and lives in darkness.

God on you....

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