Long-Suffering – the Fruit of the Spirit

 Study Series on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit

Galatians 5:22,23


I.         Introduction


A.      There are NINE fruits placed in the life of the believer at salvation.


1.        On the very day you got saved, the Holy Spirit indwelt you (1Cor 6:19).

2.        On that day, God put His Holy Spirit in you and there He will remain.

3.        But He doesn’t sit idly by. He does two things


a.       Changes you from the inside out

b.       Exchanges your old works, with something he calls FRUIT! The fruit of the Spirit


B.       These are God’s replacements for the seventeen WORKS of the flesh as listed in Gal 5:19-21.

C.       The fruit of the Spirit is a direct result of my personal walk and relationship with Jesus Christ in His word – it’s not complicated. It just takes effort and focus (Gal 5:25) on your part! God help us ALL to have personal love-life with the God of this Book!

D.      So far, we have studied the fruits of Love, Joy, Peace

E.       None of these are not natural in our lives – not like anything this world has to offer – but completely supernatural!

F.       This message will focus on the fourth fruit of the Holy Spirit: long-suffering!


I.         Message – Long-Suffering – the Fruit of the Spirit


A.      What is Long-Suffering?


1.        Two part meaning


a.       To suffer


1)       In a general way, suffering means to: Be afflicted, bothered, endure, be troubled, have lots of “bad luck”

2)       How do we normally suffer (see 2Cor 11:20 for comparison)?


a)       Slavery – somebody else controlling your life

b)       Bankruptcy – losing everything

c)       Being robbed – somebody mugging or robbing you

d)       Getting beaten up – somebody bullying you


b.       But the word here is not just suffer


1)       The fruit of the Spirit enables us not only to put up with suffering, but to put up with it, and put up with it, and put up with it

2)       Notice the LONG part of the word – to endure long

3)       But also notice thankfully, it is not forever!


2.        This is a word that is not on most lips today


a.       Suffering to most people is something that:


1)       Somolians do every day in hunger

2)       The Jews did in the holocaust

3)       The Irish did under the British rule


b.       Surely it couldn’t be something a Christian is expected to do today?

c.       But it is!


3.        In simple words – Long-suffering is the supernatural ability to endure troubles, and yet still stay in love, be full of joy, and at perfect rest, while you are struggling through the fiercest of storms!

4.        What a wonderful fruit this is!


B.       Why is Long-Suffering a Fruit of the Spirit?


1.        We like the benefits of: Love,  Joy, Peace - These are benefits to US

2.        But now come some benefits to OTHERS: Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness

3.        These are just as vital as the first three!

4.        And long-suffering is the first of this second set of three fruits

5.        It actually counteracts two very vicious works of the flesh that are listed in the previous verses (Gal 5:19-21): Hatred and Variance

6.        Let’s learn how.


C.       The Act of Being Wronged – Example of David (1Sam 18, 31)


1.        Three things needs to be understood to begin with


a.       Saul is king at this time

b.       David is only a shepherd boy

c.       Yet, David has been anointed to be king


2.        David slays Goliath while Saul trembled in fear

3.        Watch the crowd’s reaction (1Sam 18:5-7) praise of David more than Saul

4.        Watch Saul’s reaction to the crowd (1Sam 18:8,9)


a.       Saul begins to HATE (first word of the works of the flesh) David

b.       Then Saul become UNSTABLE – up one day, and down the next


5.        This is the result of being wronged, or perceiving of being wronged

6.        But it doesn’t end there


a.       Saul seeks to KILL David – the final fruit of hatred

b.       Hunts David down for 7 long years – seeks to make HIM suffer


7.        Here is the Biblical principle:


a.       Saul felt wronged – and sought to rectify it on his own – by seeking to KILL the threat to his reign – which was David

b.       David IS wronged by Saul, and yet suffers long, waiting on the hand of God to act (1Sam 24:1-22)

c.       Finally, after 40 long years of ruling, Saul finally dies at the hand of his enemies, the Philistines (1Sam 31:1-6)


8.        This ABILITY to Suffer Long is part of what made David the greatest king of all time – the mark of a great leader


a.       This not only happens several times between David and Saul

b.       But between David and Absolom

c.       And between David and even a nobody name Shimei (2Sam 16)

d.       Every one of David’s enemies, got taken cared of by God


9.        But it is given to us, not as a blessing, but as an ability to endure hard times, but endure them the right way!


D.      How does God enable the Christian to suffer long?


1.        He gives us Good examples


a.       In the Scriptures (Ps 86:15)


1)       Hundreds of real people like David, and most of all Himself

2)       Where would we be if God had not suffered long with us?  What would our eternity be if we received our just rewards after our first mistake?  Isn’t it comforting to know that God is long suffering with us?


b.       In church – everyone here is to be a good example. The times of struggle, and suffering that you go through may not be only for yourself – it may so that someone behind you can have a godly example of how to go on, and love God, have the Joy of the Holy Ghost, and the peace that passes all understanding!


2.        God’s presence – like an inner pressure against the outer pressures!

3.        Great reward – God is trying to show us He will make it all up to us, no matter what we lose when we suffer for His name’s sake!

4.        Grueling Exercises – God bit by bit prepares you for a bigger trial ahead by getting you through smaller ones now


E.       Examples of Long-Suffering They are so numerous, it might scare you


1.        Job (James 5:10,11)

2.        Paul suffered for souls to be won to Christ (2Cor 6:3-14; 11:20-33)

3.        God with this world

4.        A godly woman with her drunken husband

5.        A godly teenager with their “always wrong” parents

6.        A godly worker, under a hard boss

7.        You could create a list all day long of the times when people suffer

8.        The call is for us to allow the Holy Spirit be the power that enables us to suffer long and win each battle, instead of so quickly giving up and losing


F.       The Times God Has ordained that Christians Are to Suffer Long


1.        When in Temptation (1Cor 10:13) – resistance is NOT futile!


a.       Struggle with any desire to give up

b.       Remember that God CANNOT allow you to be tempted above what you are able – it is not in His nature!

c.       Suffer long when your flesh wants to give in!


2.        As Christians (Philp 1:29; 4:12,13; 1Pet 2:20-23; 3:12-14; 5:8-10) – there are NO perfect Christians – we all suffer in this life


a.       Suffer long for believing your Bible as a Christian – when people mock you, even other Christians!

b.       Suffer long in order to live a godly life – doing right


1)       People say, I don’t see you getting many prayers answered

2)       Why follow such a “rigid” way

3)       Lots of people are getting what they want (girlfriends, money, etc) by just doing it “normally – any way they can

4)       Don’t let them cheat you out of a godly life

5)       Drink will not benefit you AT ALL, at all!


c.       Suffer long as you do God’s will (Acts 5:41; 9:16)


1)       Preaching, soul-winning faithfully, no matter the shut doors

2)       Missionary in a far away jungle, alone, at high cost!

3)       Going against the flow – your parents may not like it, nor your kids, but go ahead anyway! AMEN!


3.        When in Love (1Cor 13:4)


a.       You ain’t in love unless you are ready to suffer – AMEN!

b.       The Love of God for US proves this!

c.       Notice when you DO suffer, the fruit of the Spirit actually counteracts the suffering not with HATRED and VARIANCE, but KINDNESS in return


1)       Loving your enemy – even though you have been wronged – that’s what made them your enemy to begin with

2)       Do good to them that HATE you

3)       Heap coals of fire on their head with KINDNESS


d.       If you think you are in love, and yet have very little patience, then YOU ARE NOT IN LOVE!


4.        When Soul-Winning and Discipling (1Cor 9:12)


a.       When soul-winning turns to an argument, turn the other cheek

b.       When kids are getting brain-washed, SUFFER LONG to get them the truth – don’t ignore the ruining of the kids in this generation (Mt 19:14). Help me start Bible Clubs, Teen Discipleships, more SS classes, and more churches all over THIS nation!

c.       When you are witnessing to folks about the Gospel, stay at it, and be patient at it – don’t let the rejection affect your burden, or drive!

d.       There is lots of suffering when starting a church – but the rewards only come when a Pastor, and his people suffer LONG at it! AMEN!


5.        If you want to lay up treasure in heaven (Rom 8:17,18; 2Tim 2:3,8-12)


a.       Again, as I said earlier, there are great rewards for staying at the Christian life, no matter the cost

b.       God doesn’t call us to instant victory

c.       But rather to faithfulness – it speaks louder than any flashy words or skill of someone new on the block

d.       The elect are the Jews, and the Jews only get saved when Gentiles endure trials and yet stay true to the God of their Bible


6.        As a Church (Heb 11:24,25)


a.       No suing one another (1Cor 6:1-8)

b.       Suffer together (1Cor 12:25-27; Heb 13:3). Nobody should have to go through troubles alone!


II.       Conclusion (Gal 6:9) - Be not WEARY in well doing


A.      There are two kinds of human suffering


1.        Wasted Suffering – all the suffering you may go through in life – if it all piles up on you, and you finally die, but without Christ – it will have been wasted, and your suffering has only just begun!

2.        Worthwhile Suffering – suffering that happens AFTER getting born again


a.       Now, THAT’S something great

b.       All that suffering, no matter how much, will be made up to you

c.       You have got to believe that!


B.       The fruit of long suffering is placed into every believer at salvation

C.       It comes from God (Rom 2:4) who is very long-suffering towards all of us and our antics – don’t neglect such patience and long-suffering towards you – God is not willing that ANY should perish.


1.        What ever you are suffering with now, is nothing compared to hell

2.        Whatever it may cost to follow Christ, it will be worth it


D.      For the Christian, question is: How do we nurture that fruit to perfection?

E.       Answer:

1.        Allow yourself to wait on God - and wait, and wait, always trusting

2.        Allow yourself to do without what you think you need

3.        Allow yourself to be wronged – do NOT seek to “clear your name”

F.       If you say, “I can’t do that!” then you are holding back the blessing of God that only comes to those who develop this most important of outward fruits!