Psa. 11:5 π Psa. 119:67 π Isa. 48:10 π Hos. 5:15 π 2 Cor. 12:9 π Col. 1:11 π 2 Ths. 1:4-5 π 2 Tim. 1:8 π Heb. 12:11 π Heb. 12:14
“Long suffering with joyfulness.” ( Col. 1:11; top )
Long suffering is one of the fruits of the Spirit, just as well as love, joy and peace. It is wrong to look for suffering; however, following God’s way for our lives very likely may involve some suffering.
Long suffering is for the purpose of conforming God’s children to the image of Christ. If Jesus could not be perfected without it, how much more needful it is for those who follow His path toward total obedience. “Before I was afflicted I went astray.” ( Psa. 119:67 ) “In their affliction they will seek Me early.” ( Hos. 5:15 ) If God promised immunity from suffering to those that follow Him, men would serve Him only out of self-interest and self-protection. “Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.” ( Isa. 48:10; top )
These trials ( “The Lord tries the righteous” – Psa. 11:5 ) that the Lord brings to us are part of a special preparation for a specific area of our lives to be made mature; and if the testing time seems prolonged, He who permits the trial knows just how hot the furnace is and just how long we need to continue therein. As we continue in our tribulations, we are comforted of God and learn that we are able to comfort others who are in trouble as a result of our furnace experience. Death works in us, but life in them. There is no good in us except that which the Lord Himself has engineered in us via the experience of trials and tribulations. We are counted worthy of the Kingdom of God as a result of our suffering. “For your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you must endure, which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which you also suffer”! ( 2 Ths. 1:4-5; top )
Most gladly, said Paul, “therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of God may rest upon me.” ( 2 Cor. 12:9 ) Obviously, Paul was equating his sufferings with the power of God, as it was exhibited through his life. He later wrote the same thought in 2 Tim. 1:8 : “But you be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” (top)
The modern mind looks on suffering and pain as an absolute curse; however, there is no way we can get through our Christian life without suffering. It matures us, gives us compassion for others and makes the power of God operable through our lives. Also, all chastenings provide us with a “holiness without which no man shall see God.” ( Heb. 12:14; top )
“All chastenings seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous, yet afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness.” ( Heb. 12:11; top )
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