“The fruit of the Spirit” is also classified as “peace”. Peace is the tranquil blessing from disorder, war and upheaval that exists in the world. Instead of constantly being anxious and worrisome, Christians can know that no matter what the physical situation may be, they are able to still be at peace spiritually (Phil. 4:6). It is not just coincidence either that Christians are blessed to serve a master who is known as the “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). By so doing, Christians are also blessed to receive “…the peace of God, which passeth all understanding…” (Phil. 4:7).
This “peace” cannot be found in the things of the world, such as wealth or fame. It is a benefit that is exclusively enjoyed by those who are children of God. Speaking of the “children of God,” Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). Not only are Christians able to have “peace”, but they should also be actively pursuing “peace”. Paul wrote, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18). Also, when discussing how to handle a brother and his scruple, Paul indicated, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Rom. 14:19).
Also, the writer of Hebrews instructed, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). The next thing listed under “the fruit of the Spirit” is “longsuffering”. The opposite of “longsuffering” would be “quick to condemn”. Surely all Christians want God to be “longsuffering” toward us. After all, we like others, “…have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Therefore we should be thankful that “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Likewise, we should be “longsuffering” toward our fellow man.
Jesus taught a great lesson of a man who received “compassion” from “a certain king”, but then refused to be “longsuffering” with his “fellowservant”. “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt” (Matt. 18:23-30).
What a sad account of one who was not “longsuffering”! He had just received the blessing himself, but refused to extend it to another. Jesus went on to explain, “So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matt. 18:31-35).
“Longsuffering” is an act of love that is bestowed unto us by God, and in like manner we are to bestow it on others (1 Cor. 13:4). Next on the list of “the fruit of the Spirit” is “gentleness”. This denotes the necessity of being kind. Paul wrote the church of the Thessalonians, “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thess. 2:7-8). Can you just imagine what life would be like if every person were that way to others?
~ Corey Barnette