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Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. — Matthew 11:28-30When our family first moved to the Soviet Union, the Soviet economy was so collapsed and the system so broken that even the most basic supplies were difficult to find. One of those hard-to-find supplies was gasoline for one’s car — and not just for the car, but for any machinery that operated on gasoline. Because of this lack of fuel, few cars were driven, and people walked great distances. There was just no available fuel to put into the tanks of the cars parked inside people’s garages. At that time our family lived in a remote area on the edge of a small city where people were given small plots of land to grow gardens. One spring when it was time to plow the garden and plant seeds, I looked out the kitchen window of our house and saw something I could hardly believe! Our neighbor had taken an old harness, like one that would be normally placed around the neck of a cow, a horse, or an ox, and hooked it up to his wife! I watched in amazement as this man walked behind his wife, guiding the plow as she heaved forward with her neck and shoulders, dragging the plow through the hardened soil. The two of them were working to break up the ground so they could plant their seeds and produce their garden. They owned a small tractor, but because there was no fuel, they couldn’t use it. Therefore, this couple resorted to the action I beheld that day. I called to Denise and told her to come to the kitchen. She looked out the window with me and saw this poor woman hooked up to a harness and pulling the plow, with her husband trying to guide the sharp blade through that solid ground. Denise was speechless! What this couple was doing just outside our backyard looked so hard and difficult! We both wished we had a couple of oxen to loan them that day in order to make their job a little easier! Many times Denise and I have worked so hard in the ministry that we felt like we had given every ounce of our strength; yet there always seemed to be so much more that we needed to give. On several occasions, I told my wife, “I guess it’s time for us to hook up the plow and press through this hard ground! Let’s go for it, Sweetheart!” We’d laugh and then remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30, where He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The word “labour” in verse 28 is from the Greek word kopaio, which describes the most wearisome kind of labor. This is a person who is giving everything he has to a project or assignment. He is striving, laboring, and working with every fiber of his being. But the Greek tense describes people who have been laboring under this load without a pause for a very long time. Their work has been wearisome, exhausting, and unending. The words “heavy laden” tell us why these people are so weary from their labors. These words are from the Greek word phortidzo, which denotes a load or burden that is normal and expected for an individual to carry in life. It was a military term that described the backpack or bag that every soldier was required to carry as a part of his career as a soldier. Carrying such a weight was a normal and expected requirement for soldiers. The weight of these backpacks and bags was determined by the length of the soldier’s journey. If his trip was short, the weight would be less. But if the assignment mandated a longer journey, the weight of the backpack or bag would be much heavier laden. This means Jesus was referring to people who had been doing their job for a very long time — and their job wasn’t done yet. Their journey had not been a quick, short, and easy one, and much of it was still before them. They had quite a long distance yet to go before they reached their destination. Knowing how exhausted they were and yet how much further they had to go before they were finished, Jesus told them, “Come unto me…and I will give you rest” (v. 28). The word “rest” is from the Greek word anapauo, which means to rest, to relax, to calm, or to refresh. The root is pauo, from which we get the word pause. So in Matthew 11:28, the word anapauo carries the meaning of to pause, to cease, to desist, or to refrain. In our modern-day language, it could be translated to take a breather; to have a break; to have a hiatus, a lull, an interval, an interruption; or to take time to get away from something or some responsibility. Jesus never promised that He would take difficult assignments away from you. However, He did promise that if you would come to Him, He would give you the rest you need in order to be refreshed for the continuation and conclusion of the journey. So when it seems like you’ve given all you have, but there’s still so much more for you to do before you’re finished, just take a break from your journey and go to Jesus for some supernatural refreshing! Then in Matthew 11:29, Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you.…” The word “take” is the word airo, meaning to deliberately lift or to deliberately take up. The fact that Jesus used the word airo implies that one must deliberately invite Jesus into the harness so He can help you pull the plow. The word “yoke” is the Greek word zugos, which describes the wooden yoke that joined two animals together so they could combine their strength to pull a load that generally would have been too difficult for one animal to pull by itself. This “yoke” made the team inseparable. As a result, they were stronger, and their combined strength made their task easier. This is Jesus’ offer to the weary and tired worker. Jesus offers to come alongside the worker and join him in his assignment or affairs. However, the worker — the weary soul — has to make the deliberate choice to enter into this working relationship and to come under the yoke of Jesus. He has to take the “yoke” of Jesus upon himself, reaching out by faith to lift it up and place it upon himself. Becoming “yoked” to Jesus in your life, your ministry, your business, and your personal affairs is a premeditated, determined choice — not something that occurs accidentally. But just as two animals that are “yoked” together make a job much more easy and manageable, the strength of you and Jesus together is unbeatable! That is why the Lord went on to say, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). The word “easy” is the Greek word chrestos, meaning pleasurable, delightful, or comfortable. This means it is a delight to work with the Lord. When you are yoked together with Jesus, even the most difficult assignments become pleasurable! Situations that would normally make you uneasy become comfortable. Being “yoked” together with Him changes the atmosphere and brings peace and strength to your soul. It is the most pleasurable experience in the world! Jesus concluded this verse by saying that being “yoked” together with Him is “light.” The word “light” is the Greek word elaphron, describing something that is not burdensome, but light or easy. I can tell you from personal experience — what was once hard, wearisome, and troubling because you were doing it all alone becomes pleasurable and lighter when you are partners with Jesus! So what about you, friend? Are you going to keep pulling that plow through that solid ground all by yourself? Or are you going to allow Jesus to become partnered with you in your endeavors? Going it alone is the hardest course you can take. But when you choose to be yoked together with Jesus, you suddenly have the greatest Partner in the universe who will turn a once-hard situation into the most pleasurable experience of your life!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I admit that I’ve been trying to pull the whole load by myself, and I simply can’t do it any longer. I have given every ounce of my strength; now I need You to come alongside me and help me finish the task that is before me. I’m willing to do it, but I must have Your help if I’m going to do it with all my heart and finish it all the way to the end. So today I am asking You to become “yoked” with me in my job, my business, my ministry, my family, and in all my personal affairs.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that Jesus Christ is my Partner in life. He works with me; He walks with me; and He is my biggest Helper! Because of Jesus’ strategic role in my life, my attitude, my environment, my work, and everything connected to me has become better, higher, finer, and more pleasurable. My life assignment is not a burden — it is truly a delight!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of an area of your life where you need to invite Jesus to become “yoked” together with you to make your journey lighter and more enjoyable? 2. Have you been trying to do it all alone? Is this the reason you are so exhausted from your labors? 3. Do you feel alone in your endeavors, or do you sense that Jesus is hooked up with you and that He is helping you pull the load?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…. — Galatians 5:22,23Few people think of “meekness” as a desirable attribute. Most assume that if a person is “meek,” he must be “weak.” To these people, a meek person is one who is timid, shy, bashful, or perhaps introverted. But this is a grossly incorrect view of the New Testament word for “meekness.” In actual fact, “meekness” is one of the strongest attributes a person can possess, with a unique strength that has a dramatic impact on all it touches. In Galatians 5:22 and 23, meekness is listed as one of the fruits that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. These verses tell us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness….” Meekness So what is “meekness?” The word “meekness” comes from the Greek word prautes, which depicts the attitude or demeanor of a person who is forbearing, patient, and slow to respond in anger; one who remains in control of himself in the face of insults or injuries. In the Greek language, the word prautes (“meekness”) conveys the idea of a high and noble ideal to be aspired to in one’s life. Although an injurious situation may normally produce a rash or angry outburst, a meek person is controlled by kindness, gentleness, mildness, or even friendliness. The word “meekness” pictures a strong-willed person who has learned to submit his will to a higher authority. He isn’t weak; he is controlled. He may in fact possess a strong will and a powerful character; he may be a person who has his own opinion. But this person has learned the secret of submitting to those who are over him. Thus, he is one who knows how to bring his will under control. In rare instances, the word prautes (“meekness”) was used to describe wild animals that had become tame because it correctly conveyed the idea of a wild, fierce will under control. This means when the Spirit is producing meekness in your life, you are controlled even in difficult circumstances. Rather than fly into a rage and throw a temper tantrum, you are able to remain silent and keep your emotions and temper under control. If you find yourself in a situation that you fiercely believe is wrong, you are still able to stay silent until the appropriate moment to speak or until you have been asked for your opinion. You know how to control yourself and your emotions. In addition to these meanings, the word “meekness” was also used in a medical sense to denote soothing medication to calm the angry mind. A meek person doesn’t project the countenance of one who is offended, upset, angry, or reactive to insults or injuries. Instead, he is so gentle and mild in his response that he becomes soothing medicine for the angry or upset soul, or for a troublesome or unsettling situation. So take a moment to examine the way you respond to insults, injuries, or volatile situations. Do you find that you are often a contributor to a heated and potentially explosive atmosphere? Or does your presence bring peace into the midst of the conflict? When others say or do something that could offend you, do you quickly retort with a harsh answer, or are you able to control your emotions and temper, remaining silent until a more appropriate time to speak? The flesh loves to rage out of control, but when meekness is being produced in you by the Holy Spirit, it will make you careful and controlled. Your very presence will become God’s soothing medication for angry, upset people, and you will impart peace to situations that hitherto were unsettling and unstable. Temperance Paul goes on to mention “temperance” next in his list of the fruit of the Spirit. But doesn’t “temperance” have almost exactly the same meaning as the word “meekness”? What is the difference between these two fruits of the Spirit? As noted above, the word “meekness” has to do with the attitude or demeanor of a person who can control his temper or emotions. But the word “temperance” comes from the Greek words en and kratos. The word en means in, and the word kratos is the Greek word for power. When compounded into one word, these two Greek words form the word enkrateia, which literally means in control and denotes power over one’s self; hence, it is often translated as the word “self-control.” It suggests the control or restraint of one’s passions, appetites, and desires. Just as a meek individual can control his attitude, a person with temperance has power over his appetites, physical urges, passions, and desires. Because the Holy Spirit has produced temperance in his life, he is able to say no to overeating, no to overindulging in fleshly activities, no to any excesses in the physical realm. A person with temperance maintains a life of moderation and control. The word enkrateia — “temperance” — could be thus translated as restraint, moderation, discipline, balance, temperance, or self-control. You can see how opposite temperance is to the works of the flesh. If the flesh is allowed to have its way, it will over-worry, overwork, overeat, overindulge, and literally run itself to death. But when a person is controlled by the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit produces in him a discipline over the physical realm that helps him sustain his physical condition, stay in good health, remain free from sin, and live a life that is moderate and balanced. Now that you better understand the meanings of the words “meekness” and “temperance,” consider how well you’re doing in allowing the Holy Spirit to produce these two spiritual fruits in your life. Do you demonstrate that you can control both your temper and your physical appetites and urges? Are you able to restrain your emotions and keep your flesh under control? Or would you have to honestly say that you have a hard time controlling your emotions and that your flesh is running the show? Take a good look at yourself today to see if meekness and temperance are being produced in you. And if the answer is no, take some time today to ask the Holy Spirit to start producing these two powerful fruits in your life!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I am so thankful that You are patient with me as I learn to walk in the Spirit and to produce the fruit of the Spirit in my life. Every day I am becoming more aware of my need to be changed. It is very evident that I cannot change myself without Your help. I know that I need meekness and temperance in my life. When I look at myself in the mirror, my physical image even tells me that temperance is greatly lacking in me. So today I am sincerely calling out and asking You to help me move up to a higher level of life. Produce these powerful, life-changing fruits in me. Change me, I pray!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am becoming more and more controlled in my emotions and my physical life. Restraint, moderation, temperance, discipline, self-control — all of these are becoming a part of who I am and how I behave. The nature and character of Jesus Christ are being developed in me. The spiritual fruits of meekness and temperance are changing me — bringing peace to every situation I encounter and producing health in me as I learn to be moderate in everything that I do!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Do you have the testimony of being soothing medicine for the angry or upset soul, or do you stir up anger and strife? Do others see you as having a calm and soothing effect on other people? 2. When you look at your life honestly, do you see self-control? Do you have power over yourself, or does your flesh call all the shots? Are you able to tell your flesh what to do, or does your flesh command you? 3. In what areas do you think you need more self-control? Why don’t you think about this question and then make a list of those areas in your life that need to be more controlled by the Spirit of God?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. — Galatians 5:22Once when I was flying from New York City to another city in the United States, I noticed the man sitting next to me had his head lowered against the seat. I could tell he was experiencing some kind of terrible throbbing pain in his head, so I asked him, “Is there any way I can pray for you?” The man peered up at me with a look of joyful surprise. I knew from his response that he was a believer! He was delighted that I had offered to pray for him, so with his permission, I reached over and laid my hands on him. Then I began to speak healing over the pain he was feeling in his head. After prayer, I asked the man, “What do you do for a living?” He told me, “I am a wealthy businessman. I have joined together with several other very wealthy businessmen, and as a team, we travel the world over to find worthy organizations and evangelical works that need money to advance the Kingdom of God. Once we find them, we make it our business to fund them so they can operate without having to worry about raising money.” When I thought about this man and the goodness of his heart, I was reminded of the word “goodness” in Galatians 5:22, where the apostle Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness….” This man’s desire to give is exactly what the word “goodness” is all about. His urge to help others demonstrated the fruit of goodness, which is supernaturally produced in the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit. Goodness The word “goodness” is the Greek word agathusune, which comes from the word agathos, meaning good. But when agathos becomes the word agathusune, it means goodness in the sense of being good to someone. This word was used to portray a person who is generous, big-hearted, liberal, and charitable with his finances. We would call this person a giver. By reading Acts 10:38, we find that this fruit of the Spirit operated mightily in Jesus. It says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Most people who preach from this verse focus primarily on the healing portion of this verse, but today I want to draw your attention to the phrase “doing good,” because it is so crucial to this discussion. The words “doing good” are from the word euergeteo, which is an old word that denoted a benefactor, a philanthropist, or one who financially supported charitable works. This word would only be used to describe a person who possessed great financial substance and who used it to assist those who were less fortunate. The implication of the word eugereteo is that Jesus possessed a great amount of financial resources in His ministry. In addition to the offerings that were received for His ministry, Luke 8:3 tells us that a group of very wealthy women also financially supported His ministry. Also, we can infer from Judas’ words in John 12:5 that Jesus’ ministry had a significant philanthropic outreach to the poor and needy over which Judas had been placed in charge. I find this very significant, for it tells me that Jesus didn’t only perform supernatural works; He also used His resources to do good works in the natural realm. Jesus cared for the poor; He helped feed the needy; and He utilized the vast resources of money made available to His ministry to meet the basic needs of human beings. Thus, He set an example for us to be concerned for and involved in the meeting of basic human needs as we are able to do so. This tells me that acting in “goodness” is a character feature of the nature of God. Luke mentioned this aspect of Jesus’ nature in Acts 10:38 right along with His supernatural healing power, sounding the signal that God is just as interested in helping the poor and needy with financial assistance as He is in supernaturally healing their bodies. The truth is, helping to meet the physical needs of other people is an act of “goodness” that Jesus did and still longs to do through His people. So when the Bible tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is “goodness,” God is letting us know that He wants us to be selfless, using our resources to help change people’s living conditions for the better. This is absolutely contrary to the flesh, which would consume every spare dollar on itself. But when the Spirit is working mightily in us, He shifts our focus from ourselves to the needs of those who are around us. Thus, the fruit of the Spirit called “goodness” is that supernatural urge in a person to reach beyond himself to meet the natural needs of those around him. When a believer is walking in the Spirit, his eyes are supernaturally opened to see the needs of humanity, and his heart is moved to meet those needs. This is why there is no greater benefactor or philanthropist than a person who is filled with the Spirit and who is producing the fruit of the Spirit in his or her life! Faith The word “faith” is the Greek word pistis, which is the common New Testament word for faith. However, in this verse it conveys the idea of a person who is faithful, reliable, loyal, and steadfast. It pictures a person who is devoted, trustworthy, dependable, dedicated, constant, and unwavering. This, of course, is contrary to the flesh, which seeks to be lazy, uncommitted, undependable, and completely unreliable. When Paul wrote to Timothy and told him how to choose leaders, he urged Timothy to choose “faithful” men. This is also the word pistis, which tells us that it is mandatory for this fruit of the Spirit to be found in leaders. In fact, it is also used by Paul in First Corinthians 4:2, where Paul writes, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” That last phrase could be translated, “…It is required…that a man be found devoted, trustworthy, dependable, dedicated, constant, and unwavering.” This “faith” or “faithfulness” is so esteemed by God that it is listed in First Corinthians 13:13, where Paul writes, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity.…” This fruit of the Spirit is a part of the eternal nature of God. The Bible stresses that God is faithful (First Corinthians 1:9) and utterly dependable. Numbers 23:19 (NIV) says, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.” Jesus Himself is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). If this unchanging, constant, stable, unwavering behavior is the nature of God Himself, it shouldn’t surprise us that when His Spirit is allowed to freely work in our lives, He makes us faithful and steadfast, just like God. God is faithful; therefore, we should expect faithfulness to grow in our lives as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Does the Holy Spirit have enough freedom to produce “goodness” and “faithfulness” in your life today? Are you selfish and self-seeking, consuming every spare dollar on yourself and never showing concern for the needs of those around you? Do others know you as someone who is unstable, undependable, and unreliable? If the answer is yes to either of these latter questions, doesn’t this indicate that you aren’t allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work in you? If He truly had the freedom to operate in your life, the fruits of “goodness” and “faithfulness” would be evident in you. Don’t you agree?
My Prayer for TodayLord, I want You to work so mightily in me that “goodness” and “faithfulness” become an integral part of my life. Please forgive me for the times I’ve been flesh-bound and insensitive to the human needs that are all around me. I have walked right past people with serious needs; yet I haven’t even noticed. I am convicted by this, Lord, and I’m asking You to help me shift my focus from myself to those who are around me. I also ask You to help me become so faithful that people will know they can depend on me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am sensitive to the human needs of those who are around me. In addition to believing for my own needs to be met, I also believe for the financial resources to help meet the needs of others. Just as Jesus was a blessing in His generation, I am a blessing in my generation. I am stable, unwavering, and consistent in every area of my life, reflecting the life and character of Jesus Christ in all that I do!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. How long has it been since you gave sacrificially to help people who are poor and needy? Are you even aware of the needs of the poor and needy in your neighborhood, city, or world? 2. What can you do right now to start “doing good” to people near you who have serious basic needs? Can you give them an offering, take them to the grocery store, or fill up their car with gas? What would Jesus do? 3. Do you have a reputation with other people of being dependable, reliable, and trustworthy?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness.… — Galatians 5:22Have you ever thought, Lord, You have to help me deal with this person You’ve put in my life! I’m so tired of trying to help him with his rebellious attitude that I’d like to walk away and leave him forever! Please give me the patience I need to keep working with him! Do you recognize those thoughts? Have you prayed this prayer before? At times, we all get frustrated with someone else, and sometimes our level of frustration can rise to the boiling point. This is especially true when we are exhausted from trying to help people who don’t act like they want or appreciate our help. It’s so easy to be Christ-like with people who appreciate us or who show us kindness. But are we going to act just as Christ-like when people don’t appreciate us? Will we demonstrate the life of Jesus Christ equally to those who irritate us as much as to those who make us feel good or who treat us with respect? Whenever people fail to appreciate what you do for them, fail to listen to your counsel, or fail to value what you have contributed, your flesh likes to rant and rave about how little you’re valued, respected, esteemed, and appreciated. That is often the golden moment when your soul rises up to say, “Excuse me, but I’m not a mat for people to wipe their feet on! I’ve invested all the time and energy I’m willing to invest in this ingrate. I refuse to help him any further!” Parents have felt this way toward their children; teachers have felt this way toward their students; husbands and wives have felt this way toward their spouses; friends have felt this way toward their friends; and pastors have felt this way toward their congregations. The bottom line is this: Regardless of your status in life — who you’re married to, where you work, or what you do — like everyone else, you need a healthy dose of “longsuffering” if you are going to successfully get along with other people in this world! Longsuffering In Galatians 5:22, the apostle Paul lists “longsuffering” as another fruit that the Holy Spirit wants to produce in our lives. He writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering….” The word “longsuffering” is from the Greek word makrothumia, which is a compound of the words makros and thumos. The word makros means long. It is where we get the word macaroni, which of course is a long noodle. The word makros indicates something that is long, distant, far, remote, or of long duration. The word thumos means anger, but it also embodies the idea of swelling emotions or a strong and growing passion about something. When compounded into one word, it forms the word makrothumia, which pictures the patient restraint of anger and therefore denotes longsuffering. It can be translated as the words forbearance and patience. The word makrothumia (“longsuffering”) is like a candle that has a very long wick and is therefore prepared to burn a long time. It is ready to forbear and patiently wait until someone finally comes around, makes progress, changes, or hears what you are trying to communicate or teach him or her. In Colossians 3:12, Paul commands us, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” This word “longsuffering” is the word makrothumia. But notice Paul begins this verse by telling us, “Put on.…” This phrase is from the Greek word enduo, which was used in New Testament times to denote the putting on of a garment or a piece of clothing. If you are going to properly dress for the day, you have to make the choice to look into the clothes closet and choose the clothes you wish to wear. Then once that selection is made, you still have to reach into the closet, take those clothes off the hanger, and slip them onto your body! Your clothes won’t jump out of the closet and onto your body without your help. If you are going to wear them, you have to put them on! Paul now tells you that if you’re going to be forbearing, patient, long-burning, and compassionate toward other people, you must make a choice to act in this fashion! Walking in makrothumia (“longsuffering”) is just as much a choice as it is for you to walk in your clothes. If you don’t choose to put on this fruit of the Spirit and walk in it, you won’t do it! In First Thessalonians 5:14, Paul also tells us, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” The word “patient” is also the word makrothumia. In this case, Paul is telling us that it is just as much our responsibility to be longsuffering with people as it is our responsibility to warn the unruly, comfort the feebleminded, and support the weak. Walking in makrothumia (“longsuffering”) is a part of our Christian responsibility. We have an obligation before God not to be short-tempered or quickly angered with people who struggle or fail; instead, we are to forbear with them and help them! In First Corinthians 13:4, Paul uses the word makrothumia when he writes his famous chapter about love. He says, “Charity [or love] suffereth long.…” Longsuffering is so different from the flesh, which gets easily angered, blows up, lose its temper, says things it later regrets, and doesn’t want to give the same mercy that it demands others give to it. Yet we are commanded to let makrothumia (“longsuffering”) have a key role in our lives!
Other possible interpretive translations of the word makrothumia in First Corinthians 13:4 could include:
“Love is not short-tempered or easily angered.…” “Love does not quickly blow its top, but it is patient as it waits for others.…” “Love is not irritable and impatient but is willing to wait a long time for someone to change.…” “Love is determined to wait until the other person finally comes around….” “Love passionately burns for others and is willing to wait as long as is necessary.…”Parents need to be longsuffering toward their children; teachers need to be longsuffering toward their students; spouses need to be longsuffering toward their spouses; friends need to be longsuffering toward their friends; and pastors need to be longsuffering toward their congregations. And each of us needs to be longsuffering with ourselves! If you don’t allow “longsuffering” to work in you, you will end up frustrated with everyone all the time — including yourself. So decide to let the Holy Spirit supernaturally produce “longsuffering” in you today. You’ll be more tolerant of others, more peaceful within yourself, and a lot more loving and patient toward those whom you love and need so much! Gentleness However, “longsuffering” isn’t all you need! You also need “gentleness”! This is another supernatural attribute that Paul lists as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22, where he says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness.…” The word “gentleness” comes from the Greek word chrestotes, which meant to show kindness or to be friendly to others and often depicted rulers, governors, or people who were kind, mild, and benevolent to their subjects. Anyone who demonstrated this quality of chrestotes was considered to be compassionate, considerate, sympathetic, humane, kind, or gentle. The apostle Paul uses this word to depict God’s incomprehensible kindness for people who are unsaved (see Romans 11:22; Ephesians 2:7; Titus 3:4). One scholar has noted that when the word chrestotes is applied to inter-human relationships, it conveys the idea of being adaptable to others. Rather than harshly require everyone else to adapt to his own needs and desires, when chrestotes is working in a believer, he seeks to become adaptable to the needs of those who are around him. Paul was so driven to compassion about reaching the lost that he told the Corinthian church:
- “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews…” (1 Corinthians 9:20).
- “…To them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them…” (1 Corinthians 9:20).
- “To them that are without law, as without law…that I might gain them…” (1 Corinthians 9:21).
- “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak…” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
- “…I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some…” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
My Prayer for TodayLord, I thank You that I don’t have to walk in the works of the flesh. Because of Your grace, I can surrender to the power and Presence of the Holy Spirit inside me. As I surrender to the Spirit, I ask that His divine life release His supernatural fruits in me. I want to be more patient, longsuffering, and kind. I know that I need these attributes in my life and that I am lacking them right now. So rather than continue down the path I’ve been on, I am stopping everything right now to ask You to change me. Please produce the life of Jesus Christ and His wonderful character in me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am loving, patient, and kind. I don’t lose my temper. I am not quickly angered. I am forbearing of others, tolerant of their mistakes, and burning passionately to see them gain new levels of growth in their lives. Just as others have been patient and forbearing with me, I am very patient and understanding of others who are also trying to change! I am gentle, kind, and adaptable to those who are around me. As the Spirit of God works in me, I become all things to all men in order that I might gain some for the Kingdom of God!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!