Course:  The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church.

Course Title: The Fruit of the Spirit (10 Lessons)

Lesson Five:

Lesson Title:  Longsuffering (makrothumia)

Lesson Theme:  Longsuffering restrains from anger and is associated with patience that endures under trials.

Lesson Goal:  That the student will know the characteristics of the fruit of longsuffering and apply it to his or her life.

Text:  Colossians 1:11, 'Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;’

Introduction: Longsuffering (makrothumia) from 'makros' meaning long, and 'thumos' meaning temper.  A longsuffering person is easy to approach because he or she does not react in a harsh manner.

Longsuffering is the fruit of the Spirit that is in contrast to anger.

Longsuffering does not retaliate under provocation.

Longsuffering is merciful and does not seek to punish hastily.

One of the hardest things to take is being ignored or even despised by those who should be appreciative of what we are doing. This can happen in the workplace. Longsuffering is the fruit of the Spirit that will equip us to work for the Lord and not for personal gain or influence.

1 Peter 2:18, 'Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the crooked'.

Introductory Story: Watching sport reveals so well human nature.

A football match where millions of people are watching; sometimes hundreds of millions - A player may be seen striking an opponent in anger even though he risks losing the opportunity of playing in the next match which may be the greatest match he has ever played in, or if he is sent off he risks losing the match for his team.

Why was the player unable to restrain himself?

He is one of the best players in the world but he cannot beat anger.

An uncontrolled temper is a great advantage to the opposing team.

It is a weakness that will destroy the career of a talented sports person.

Example: World Cup final 2006.

Zinedine Zidane headbutted the Italian Marco Materazzi in the 110th minute. Zidane was sent off and France lost the penalty shoot out. The reason for Zidane's outburst was a reaction to extremely offensive remarks by Materazzi but Zidane's anger cost France dearly. This was the last international match Zidane played.

Main Points:

Longsuffering - the fruit of the Spirit.

1. Longsuffering is seen in the character of the Lord.

The Lord delights in mercy.

Micah 7:18, 'Who is a God like unto You, who pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger for ever, because He delights in mercy.

The longsuffering of the Lord waits for people to repent so that He can show mercy.

Romans 2:4; ‘Or despise you the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?’

The Lord wants all people to repent.  He is longsuffering but He will fulfil His promises.

2 Peter 3:9 '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.'

His longsuffering cannot deny His holiness;

He will punish the guilty.

Exodus 34:6-7, 'And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.'

2. Longsuffering is restraint of anger.

Longsuffering keeps the emotions under control.

'Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:' Ephesians 4:26

Being angry is an emotion that can come at anytime.

It is a good principle to take a deep breath before we speak or act in anger but this only prevents a hasty response, it does not change our nature. Anger can still flare up at any time.

Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit that is produced by the new nature we receive in Christ. It is the character of Christ working in us. It is continuous and not just a method of preventing hasty actions that we might later regret.

Longsuffering seeks to put up a barrier between us and sin.

Longsuffering will prevent sin from being able to control our actions.

Sin seeks to use anger to take hold of our mind and lead us into sin.

(Genesis 4:6)   Cain allowed envy to control his mind and he committed murder.

3. Longsuffering goes hand in hand with patience.

Patience is the Greek word hupomeno from hupo meaning 'under' and meno 'to abide'.

Comparison between longsuffering and patience.


Longsuffering is being slow to anger, and prevents retaliation.

Patience refers to remaining steadfast under trial. Patience remains steadfast because our hope is in Christ.

Romans 5:3, 'And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;'

Strengthened in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Longsuffering refers to the strength to restrain.

Patience provides the strength to endure the suffering.
   Patience and Longsuffering are used together in Colossians 1:11 'Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience (hupomeno) and longsuffering (makrothumia) with joyfulness;’

4. Longsuffering looks to the Lord to repay.

Romans 12:19-21,  'Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.  Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.'

We are free to bless our enemies because the Lord will repay them for their evil deeds.  It isn't that we wish them harm but God is just and sin will not go unpunished.

Longsuffering looks to the day when Jesus is coming again knowing that He will repay.

Patience looks to the Day of His coming knowing that He who has promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:35-37, 'Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward. For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He who shall come will come, and will not tarry.'


Longsuffering will...

1) ...reveal the nature and character of God in the life of the believer.  The Lord is longsuffering in His dealings with people because He desires all people to repent.

2) a barrier of restraint in the face of provocation.  It will not allow anger to control the actions of the mind.

3) ...go hand in hand with patience. Longsuffering provides strength to restrain from wrath, patience provides strength to endure the trial.

4) ...not seek vengeance because the Lord will repay.  Longsuffering leaves us free to bless those who do us wrong.

Lesson Outline

Course Index