What Is Long Suffering In The Bible

Definition and Explanation of Long Suffering

Long suffering is an incredibly important term and concept found in the Bible. In the Greek, it’s defined as makrothymeo which encompasses patience, forbearance and endurance, signifying a constancy of character not easily broken. It’s one of the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:23 and it implies staying in a state of the same strength, no matter the circumstances or pressures placed upon someone.
The idea of long suffering is first seen throughout the Old Testament in many of the Psalms. In Psalm 103:8, it’s stated that “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love”. Here, the Bible speaks of a God Who is patient with us even when we have failed, showing us a glimpse of what long suffering looks like.
When it comes to people, the Bible shows us several examples of individuals with this characteristic. Pharaoh, the wicked king of Egypt was an example of someone who was long suffering. Despite his cruel oppression of the Israelites, God waited patiently before finally intervening. Similarly, the story of Joseph being sent away to Egypt by his brothers is another Biblical example of patience, with Joseph later understanding that it was all part of God’s plan for his life.

The Qualities Of This Virtue

The Bible has much to say about how to demonstrate this divine characteristic. According to Ephesians 4:2, those who consider themselves believers should “be completely humble and gentle…patient [and] bearing with one another in love”. Bearing with one another in love is the essence of long suffering, as it’s an act of patience regardless of the person’s actions or shortcomings.
The Bible also speaks of certain qualities associated with this concept. James 5:8 calls us to be “slow to become angry,” which is a vital part of having long suffering. It’s certainly a difficult thing to do when situations may seem frustrating and out of our control. At times it may feel tempting to simply give up in the midst of such experiences, but that is the exact opposite of long suffering.

Living Out Long Suffering

Living out long suffering on a daily basis is much easier said than done. It is often difficult to remain obedient to the Lord amidst a world that may be constantly pulling us in a different direction. However, bearing with one another in love is an extremely powerful witness to those who do not yet know Christ.
Colossians 3:12-15 urges believers to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” This is a sign of true love, and it has the potential to revolutionize a person’s life if we are willing to show it.
Perhaps one of the best ways to practice long suffering is to remember the solemn truth of our own sinfulness. As imperfect beings, just like everyone else, it is our duty to bear with one another’s short-comings in grace and with forgiveness. After all, this is something which God had shown us time and time again, and as His people, we ought to reflect these same attributes.

The Power Of Patience In Our Lives

Long suffering requires a lot of patience, and the Bible teaches us that God’s power and patience are intertwined. In 2 Peter 3:9, we are reminded that “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” That being said, God is patient with us and wants us to use that same patience to bear with one another.
In order to properly demonstrate this characteristic, we must also be willing to put forth the effort. In Galatians 6:9, we are instructed that “we must not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Long suffering is an outward expression of good, and it is often difficult but necessary in a world full of chaos and brokenness.

The Rewards For Being Long Suffering

Above all, it is incredibly important to remember that being long suffering comes with great rewards. God promises in Isaiah 40:31 that “Those who are patient will have their strength renewed.” Our strength is renewed each time we choose to love patience and understanding. As the book of Proverbs states, “A gentle answer turns away wrath”. This is a reminder that we can have a positive influence on those around us if we make the decision to remain patient in challenging situations.
Long suffering requires trust in God’s promises. When we choose to be patient and bear with one another, we are ultimately trusting God with the outcome. This can be an incredibly frightening thing to do but it is also extremely rewarding. As Romans 8:25 states, “though he may delay, wait for him, because he will surely come; he will not be late.”

Finding Rest In Long Suffering

While it can be extremely difficult to remain patient and have long suffering, it can also give us a great sense of peace when we do. The Bible tells us in Psalm 37:7 that “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him”. So often, we try to find the answers to our questions without consulting the Lord. But when we remain patient and wait for His answer, we find that He gives us the strength to remain in a state of long suffering.
Additionally, He rewards us for trusting in Him. Proverbs 16:32 says that “better is a patient person than a warrior.” Here, the Bible reminds us that patience is far more important in both the spiritual and physical realm than aggressiveness. When we choose to remain patient and demonstrate long suffering, it shows God that we are obedient to His commands.

The Beauty Of Long Suffering

Long suffering in the Bible has the power to change not only the lives of those we interact with but also our own lives as well. It is a reminder of the compassionate and forgiving heart of God. We have all done things against Him, His laws, and His people, and while He may have taken His time in punishing us, His patience was ultimately proven.
God’s patient love endures forever and His long suffering can never be compared to that of a human. He is patient and He is always there for us when we need Him, even when we’ve moved away from Him. This is why it’s so important for us to practice long suffering with everyone in our lives, no matter how the outcome may inevitably turn out. This is how the Lord has loved us and how we ought to love one another.

Expectation Of Long Suffering

When we speak about long suffering in the Bible, we must also consider the expectations of this virtue. We can never forget that our long suffering does not come without consequences as God still responds to our actions. In the Bible, He provides many stories and passages to teach us what happens when our long suffering doesn’t align with His commands.
For example, in the Old Testament, King David was an example of what can happen when someone chooses to not have long suffering. He continually broke the Lord’s commands and did not stand up to his people, even when they deserved it. This ultimately resulted in severe consequences, showing us the importance of being long suffering.

The Gift of Long Suffering

Finally, we must recognize that long suffering is a gift from God. When we are able to demonstrate this to those in our lives, it is an incredible testimony of God’s grace and mercy. It is something that everyone, believer and non-believer alike, can practice and benefit from.
Additionally, the Bible shows us that long suffering is something that is both required, and rewarded. In 1 Peter 2:20, we are reminded that “to keep a clear conscience, we must suffer for doing good.” We are also told in Romans 12:12 that by being patient (or long suffering), “we will be crown with life”.These scriptures serve as important reminders that patience and understanding can bring incredible peace and blessings, both in this life and the next.

The Power of Forgiveness in Long Suffering

At the heart of long suffering is the power of forgiveness. This is one of the most important aspects of this characteristic. It not only has the ability to show others the grace and mercy God has shown us; it also has the potential to give us peace.
The Bible teaches us that forgiveness is an act of long suffering. In Matthew 6:14-15 it reads, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Here, the Bible emphasizes the importance of choosing to forgive, even amidst difficult and challenging circumstances.

The Challenges of Practising Long Suffering

Living out long suffering can be difficult in a world of chaos, hurt and brokenness. We must be willing to trust God and His perfect plan, even when it may feel out of our control. We must be willing to forgive, show grace and understanding, even when those around us don’t deserve it.
This requires strength and perseverance, which can be incredibly difficult to find at times. Just as God was patient and long suffering with Abraham, Lot and Pharaoh, He is also patient and long suffering with us. This is why it is so important for those who love the Lord to extend the same patience and grace to those around them.

The Power of a Persevering Heart

Perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of long suffering is the perseverance of our hearts. No matter the circumstance, this gives us the power to remain still in a world that is constantly striving to move forward. It’s a reminder of God’s faithful promises, and it’s a way to stand in the truth of His love.
The Bible tells us in Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This scripture is a beautiful reminder that regardless of what we face, if we choose to persevere in the Lord, we will ultimately find strength and rest.

The Imperativeness of Long Suffering

In a world that has become so unpredictable and chaotic, long suffering is more imperative than ever. We are called to be patient with one another in love, to extend grace, and to remain still in the midst of uncertainty.
The Bible tells us in James 1:19-20 “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires”. This is a reminder that the key to living out long suffering is understanding and humility, and that God desires this for all of His children.

The Vitality of Long Suffering

Finally, the Bible constantly reminds us of the vitality of this characteristic. We must remember that our actions have consequences, and this is especially true when it comes to long suffering. When we choose to have

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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