"Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness" (Col. 1:11).
"Did you hear the Texas tall tale about the teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help, and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, 'Teacher, they're on the wrong feet.' She looked, and sure enough, they were.
"It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced, 'These aren't my boots.' She bit her tongue rather than...scream, 'Why didn't you say so?'
"Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, 'They're my brother's boots. My mom made me wear 'em.' Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry, but she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, 'Now, where are your mittens?' He said, 'I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots.
This teacher is a perfect example of patience and longsuffering. This is something we all need in life. Difficult people and circumstances in our lives can make patience and longsuffering difficult to live out. However, we are promised God's help in this area. By the indwelling Holy Spirit we are "strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power" to be more patient and longsuffering.
God is longsuffering. During this present evil age, God is demonstrating His longsuffering as He gives all people an opportunity to be saved (1 Tim. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:15). And while believers are not perfect in their practice, God is patient and longsuffering with us as we grow in Christ. One aspect of godliness (or God-likeness) is to be patient and longsuffering like Him (Eph. 5:1).
God wants us to endure patiently and suffer long with those who may try our patience to the limit. God desires long fuses as misunderstandings arise, cutting words are said, or unkind actions are done. The old nature lashes out, retaliates, and is impatient, but God wants self-restraint in His strength. God's selfless love teaches us that "Charity suffereth long, and...is not easily provoked" (1 Cor. 13:4-5). Living out this attribute of Christ in our relationships can make a great difference in the quality of these relationships and, in turn, the quality of our lives.
Pastor Kevin Sadler