Room In Your Heart For Others
Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit--part of God's nature. Longsuffering means to be accepting towards all types of people as they are. Spend time with God and ask him to change you.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right? Well, I’m fine. Thank you, nice of you to ask. I’m feeing great. The old man said I got up and looked in the obituary column, my name wasn’t there, I felt pretty good and went back to bed. Well, I didn’t do that. I get up early and stay up. When I’m up, I’m done for the day so far is sleeping is concerned. I guess lots of you are the same way, aren’t you?
Oh, it’s nice to be back with you. The miles drop away and I feel as though I were sitting beside you there at the kitchen table or riding alongside of you as you go to work or school. Whatever it is it’s great to be together, isn’t it? Though it sounded far, by fate we meet around one common mercy seat. The togetherness of Christians doesn’t depend on miles. It depends on a wonderful person, the Holy Spirit of God who indwells the believer. And it depends on the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. And that’s what we share as we get together for this few moments.
And we’ve been looking at 2 Peter where he said, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these promises ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust,” and we stopped then on this idea of the divine nature. What does that mean? And one of the things that comes close to it is the description we find in Galatians 5:22-23 which is called the fruit of the Spirit. The result of the Holy Spirit of God, now the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity is just as much God as God the Father or God the Son, has all the attributes given to either one of them, look up in your Bible, in your topical textbook or your concordance, you will find that so.
And so, the fruit of the Spirit, the result of the Holy Spirit working in your life can very well be then for us, a profile of what God himself is like. So we went on through these words “love, joy, peace” and we’ve come down to this word “longsuffering.” The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering. It’s a Greek word “makrothumia,” or large heartedness, room in your heart. Longsuffering simply doesn’t mean only putting up with people, it means making room for people, as they are warts and all.
You want to think about that for a little while with me? You know, there are some very nice folks in the world and it’s a joy to interact with them. There are some people that are just about as perfect as an individual can be this side of heaven. And there’s a lady now in her 90’s I guess that I’ve known for 30 years, and early on I recognize the fact that she was a real Christian and that the Spirit of God dwelt within her. And so, jestingly one day as I was talking with her and with her husband who also was a tremendous Christian and a gentleman. I called her “Saint Marjorie.” And she looked at me shocked and then chuckled a little, but the nickname stuck.
And so when I write to her or talk with her why I used the appellation, a nice lady, it reminds you of all that a Christian ought to be. But there are a lot of folks that aren’t that way, have you found any? Not everyone, I tell my wife Coreen, I said, “Not everybody is as nice as you and me.” There are some people who put thought into being difficult and others who work at being impossible. There are all different kinds of folks, there is a person who walks up to you invariably telling you what’s wrong and he or she will say, “You’re not going to like this, but I’m going to tell you for your own good.” And you find yourself tensing up, so that if you were a fiddle string and someone plucked you, you’d sound A440. You get so tense when somebody walks up to you with that kind of an attitude.
There are other people who have what my friend, Roy McCandless, used to call the gift of discouragement. Everything’s always wrong, everything’s always sad. They look at the world not through rose colored glasses but through dark glasses you know. There is the person who is manipulative, and whenever he says “good morning,” he or she, you wonder to yourself. “I wonder what the individual wants now, the manipulative person?” There is the person with the short fuse that tends to blow up under pressure or even when he or she is disagreed with. Oh, yes, all different kinds of difficult people and yet, and yet Jesus died for all of us and people with those kinds of faults turn out to be his own. They are a part of the Body of Christ.
Jacob the schemer lived long enough and met God one day at Peniel to become Israel, a prince with God. God is working with people, let him do it. He has a good deal of mileage still to gain with you and me, doesn’t he? And so let’s give room in our hearts for other people, Makrothumia, a longsuffering part of the very nature of God. Aren’t you glad that God put up with you sometimes instead of throwing you right out of His kingdom? Think about it. How many times have you and I depended upon the mercy and forgiveness of God for some things that we have said and done?
See, that’s part of the nature of God, longsuffering, a big heart. And so when the Holy Spirit of God begins to work in you and in me, that attribute along with the others is replicated to a place where people can see that God is at work in our lives as well, why? Because we’re longsuffering, we’ve got a big place in our heart for people as they are and not as we wish they were.
How do you go about this? How do you make it real? Because my talking to you isn’t going to make any change in the way you feel and we both know that, don’t we? So how do you go about making any difference? Number one, spend more time with your Lord for yourself. It’s a strange but a wonderful truth, that if you want to have a better relation with other people, you have to start with God’s working in your own heart.
The truth of this was brought home to me as I read a book by a dear servant of God some years ago. She told the story of having been at the dinner table one evening, and talking with the family and turning to her 18 year old daughter. She said something by way of motherly admonition, and her daughter blew up and said “Mother, stop preaching to me! That’s all you ever do is preach to me. Now, don’t preach to me anymore!” And the girl got up from the table and stomped away in a huff.
Well, the dear lady said she was absolutely heartbroken. This had never happened to her before. And after she had finished the dinner dishes, she went up to her room and just cried out to God and said “Lord, why should this happen? I’ve tried to bring that girl up to love God,” and so on, and so on. And as she prayed the thought came to her that maybe God needed to do something in her life and then she thought about it some more. She came to the resolve that she would change her praying, and pray in the direction of the following words “Lord, change me.”
And she said that for about a year, she prayed in that direction, “Lord, change me.” Strangely enough, the relationship that she sustained between herself and other members of the family improved. And not surprisingly to those of you who have lived awhile, there came a day when her daughter came up to her and put her arm around her and said “Mother, I’m sorry I blew up that time at the dinner table. You were so right.” Now, what happened?
I can’t tell you what God did in the life of Evelyn Christianson. This is the lady who has been writing the books on prayer, a great prayer, a warrior and a prayer teacher. I can’t tell what God did in her life. I only know that her relationship with difficult people was changed when she let God do something in her own heart. See, the way up is down and the way to change outside is to change inside. You don’t change your culture by making laws; you change your culture by changing people.
The reason that we have crime is that people are addicted inside to sin, and lust, and drugs and so on. You change the individual inside and you’ll change the culture outside. So this matter of longsuffering, a part of the very nature of God, is that big heart that takes you in just as you are. And you’re perfectly right when you’re saying “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bid’st to become to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come.”
You’re perfectly right in saying and singing that because that’s how God takes you. “Come unto me,” Jesus said, “All ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. My yoke is easy, and burden is light.” Jesus our Blessed Lord has a big place in His heart for you just as you are. Have you realized that? How often I’ve found myself trying to fix things up before I came to God. Have you ever done that?
I’m sure God must get a chuckle out of the childish way we act often times even in our prior life. But God wants me to come to him honestly just as I am. That’s the meaning of the word confess. Homologeo in your Greek New Testament, it means to say the same thing, to agree with God. You come to God honestly and agree with him about what he already knows about you, level with God. Tell him exactly how things are. Oh, it may hurt a little to tell the truth, you may have a difficult time getting around to it but when finally it comes out, oh, how God works in your life. Longsuffering, taking in people as they are and loving them.
All right, the first step I said was to spend some time with God’s way changes you and me on the inside, then what? Then become vulnerable enough to open your heart to people. Most of us have a wall built around us emotionally because we don’t want to get hurt, either by other people’s malice or by their misfortunes, either way we have an emotional wall built around us. Break down the Berlin Wall of your soul and open up to people, and let them in.
Third, never leave a contact with people without having somehow brought them in touch with your Lord. Pray with people when you can. Pray with people when you can. You bring them into the presence of your Blessed Lord and give Him a chance to work. We’ll get at this again the next time we get together.
Jesus our Blessed Lord, we worship and adore thee, and we pray that today we may have hearts like Thine, big, longsuffering, loving hearts. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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