I taught at "Biblical Womanhood Talk" last night, a monthly women's fellowship and teaching gathering through Ekklesia. It was such a blessing to hear how the Lord used my studies to change the hearts of these women. I love being a part of a church body thats full of people who desire to grow and change and conform to the word of God. Its encouraging.
Forbearance: tolerance or mercy, although human sin deserves punishment, God in His
forbearance, or longsuffering patience, gives an opportunity for repentance.
To bear with: to endure.
The result of forbearance: to become perfected in Christ.
:: James 1:2-4 :: “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let that endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
:: Romans 2:1-4 ::
These things: sin. You are condemning yourself when you judge the sin of others. How often to we think that we could do so much better, do we compare others to our own standard?
v. 4: we underestimate God.
- His kindness: common grace, for everyone! Shown through His divine mercy, Christ on the cross God has been gracious toward all sneers. No matter how badly someone else seems to have twisted the image of god, sins against Him and maybe even against you, we are to treat every single person with the kindness that God has shown us. Kindness is a testimony to God’s work in you, and is a deliberate act to bring a sinner back to God.
- Tolerance: the act or capacity of enduring the differences of others. In this context: to hold back judgment.
- Patience: indicates duration.
:: Romans 3:21-26 ::
This is another explanation of God’s forbearance with us. God is always the standard by which we are to live our lives. Christ shows us the ultimate act of forbearance by literally bearing our sin. Because we have Christ in us and can grow in righteousness through Him, we can grow in forbearance! For this to be acknowledged in us by God, it must be true in our heart. Like we talked about a few weeks ago with purity of heart. You can’t fake forbearance, its not just some law to try to follow. Forbearance includes your thought life.
:: Ephesians 4:1-3 ::
Our calling: salvation. You have accepted the sacrifice of Christ, so act accordingly. If you have faith that He is enough to save you from your sin, to restore your relationship with the Father, then you ought to have faith that He can sanctify you; He can assist you in growth and change according to His word.
- Humility: the first beatitude commanded by Christ, describes His noble grace. We can only attain this by truly acknowledging that all we have and all we are comes from God. Humility puts focus on God and on others. If we stop focusing on ourselves so much, forbearance will come much more naturally. To be annoyed and un-forbearing is selfish.
- Gentleness: meekness: controlled strength, mild-spirited, self-controlled. Kindness, compassion, a spirit of fairness and consideration.
- Patience: long-tempered, an outgrowth of humility and gentleness.
- Tolerance in love: this is continuous and unconditional.
All of these qualities work together. We must grow in all of them to reflect Christ more clearly. We cannot love as Christ loves while lacking any of these characteristics.
- v. 3 :: if we walk this way individually, we can have unity as the body of Christ. We must be diligent to actively preserve this unity! THIS IS IMPORTANT. Satan loves to creep among us in this way: through accusations, annoyances, anger, impatience, he creates disunity among believers. Disunity makes us ineffective for Christ and stunts our growth. God puts difficult people in our lives to make us grow in godliness. Depend on others and let others depend on you.
:: Colossians 3:12-13 ::
a picture of forbearance: this is the attitude and behavior that God expects of us.
- Inner conditions lead to outward demeanors. Put on: this must be true on the inside for it to manifest in your actions. We must immerse ourselves in the word, in the study of Christ and the writings of the apostles for this to be true in our hearts and our lives. This takes time, careful study, and lots of prayer. This is a process, and just like sanctification of any characteristic, it takes time.
- Compassion: mercy: to help the miserable. Tender sympathy.
- Kindness: goodness toward others, mellowing all harsh aspects of a person.
- Meekness serves others. We must battle our self-centeredness.
- “If one has a complaint against other, forgiving each other.” It does not say: go tell all your girlfriends about it or, sit and wallow in self-pity and hold a grudge. NO! Its says: “forgive one another”. I know it seems so difficult at times, but the beauty is: Christ has conquered all things on the cross.
- Philippians 4:12-13 :: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
- We bear with one another. This means we stick around, we don’t abandon someone because we are impatient, don’t give up. This may last a lifetime.
- Don’t complain about others! This is so easy to fall into, especially when we feel wronged or angered, but this is not showing Christ’s love. A lot of times, we just need to get over it.
- What is more important? … to express your frustration, or to glorify God?
:: Philippians 4:4-5 ::
Gentle spirit: contentment with and generosity toward others; graciousness with humility. You have to have a gentle spirit to let it be known, so work on that first. The way you react to others is a reflection of your inner spirit.
:: 2 Peter 3:15-18 ::
Longsuffering: a very long fuse. :: James 1:19-26 ::
Forbearance is the doing of God’s word and the display of His grace and love.
:: Romans 12:2-8 ::
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Forbearance is NOT the assisting of sin! There are times when we do need to remove ourselves from a situation. If someone is causing you to sin or is abusing you in any way, that sin needs to be dealt with, and a third party may need to be involved. We are still to help others deal with their sin, to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ. The point of forbearance is to patiently and lovingly walk with others as they walk with Jesus, to edify and encourage, to show His love in a tangible way, and to lead unbelievers to salvation through Christ.
If your “forbearance” is not doing that, then it’s not biblical. Take a step back, reevaluate in prayer, and find a new way to approach the situation. Remember that those who do not know God cannot understand the things of God. Don’t expect unbelievers to try to live holy lives. Believers, on the other hand, are to be held to God’s standard.
- “Our sins will fill up to the skies.” Is this picture true in your life? Let the blood of Christ wash it out to make room for love and grace. You are chosen, holy and loved. All of this points to Jesus, so just fix your eyes on Him.
- The other side of forbearance: submission. How can we make life easier for others? How can we assist them in righteousness?
- Remember! This all starts with the heart. This is between you and God first, its about getting on your knees and begging for a change of attitude, new eyes to be able to see how to love others better. We cannot do this on our own, this involves complete reliance on the Lord!
:: James 5:7-11 ::