SPIRIT SLICES: Longsuffering

Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 (NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

I’ve heard it for years: my generation is a bunch of “whiny brats.” Now, any who follow this page know I’m a geek. I love several fandoms that could be perceived as juvenile; still, I do my best to keep all things in proper perspective. To my credit, I’ve been told my entire life by most everyone I know that I’ve always been “mature” for my age. So, when I hear that critique of my generation, I don’t hear “brats” as meaning “immature” necessarily (even though there are many I know who can be). What I see of so many of my generation that breeds that derogatory label is that we quit too easy.

While many use labels to paint wide swaths of people groups, I personally try my best to not do so. Still, I would be lying if I didn’t find some level of agreement with the fact that younger adults today have rampant commitment issues, often abandoning an effort or relationship whenever it gets too trying or whenever it gets boring. It’s no value judgment on my part to see the institution of marriage cast aside by many for the ease of non-committed relationships. I honestly understand the reasoning, as relationships are extremely difficult. Making something “official”, for life especially, can be scary, as we worry about others quitting us or maybe even us quitting them. I’ve been affected by quitters myself on a personal and a public level. As a worker, a volunteer, a pastor, a friend, and even as a husband, I’ve experienced the aftermath of when others feel for whatever reason that they can’t take anymore.

That relative ease to quit something and to start anew elsewhere is seen, I believe, even as far as the products we use. While televisions manufactured decades ago can still be plugged up and work decades later, today’s televisions are a different story. Many towns used to have television repair men, but a fellow would go broke if he waited around to fix televisions anymore. Nowadays, they’re made cheap, break easy, and sales are often; there’s no attachment necessary or expected, as ultimately, the product is disposable and short-term, not intended for long-term usage.

Why do I bring up such things? I believe many today, even beyond my own generation, have been conditioned to quit, both on a personal and a societal level. Having trouble with your children adjusting to a school, club, or team for whatever reason? Just quit. Are times hard at work? Just quit. Is your marriage not what you think it should be? Just quit. This is what I see happening everywhere on multiple levels on a daily basis. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been let down by people; to be fair, I know there are a number of times I too have let others down. Still, even in moments of terrible circumstances, those times I’ve let people down were almost never from a personal desire to just quit. I wasn’t raised that way. There was a day and time when people persevered. That day is seemingly behind us. It’s certainly not endemic of just Americans, but certainly, that prevalent trait is all the more tragic here. I don’t think I’m crazy in believing that Americans, especially American Christians, should be aspiring to traits that precede my time. There was a time when people trusted that others would honor their commitments, not just when things are easy but because it is the right thing to do.

I see my country and our churches ravaged by quitters. Services should be teeming with people in pews. The awesome power of Jesus convinces me that there should be crowds gathered every week, hungry and ready to serve Jesus, yet so many have quit. They’ve quit coming, listening, offering, praising, worshiping, and just being the church Christ intended. Instead of a mighty number of witnesses that could work together boldly alongside one another, the number are far too few for work that is far too important to go undone. Elsewhere in Scripture, we know Jesus tells us that He will “never leave us, nor forsake us”. It’s such an assurance to know He won’t, when so many today turn their back on Him. When opportunities arise to strongly make an impact, too often, people quit their commitments and just give up.

I’ve written before about perseverance on this site, so I won’t go much longer here. Still, if ever there was a time for Christ’s church to show some “longsuffering” and not give in to that constant pull to quit, that time is now. Christ never quit on us; we shouldn’t quit serving Him! As with all Fruits of the Spirit, Christ is the Source of our growth. If you feel personally like quitting or you already have and want to turn back to Him, I would ask you to prayerfully begin to seek Him today.

If you’ve enjoyed this short piece on Galatians 5,
feel free to read the preceding pieces:

LOVE

JOY

PEACE

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