—Part 12

Patience and Longsuffering

If we know even the basic elements of Ephesians Truth—that is, the understanding and light coming from the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians—then we know that the joy and triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ is given to us who receive His grace. 

However—for too many of us circumstances rule.  This is the reason we are learning to make intercession before the Throne of Grace for those we know, who are being overcome by pain, sorrow, resentment, retaliation and a long list of other spiritual scoundrels who always seem always ready to jump on us.  The Scripture from which we take our prayer is in continuation of what we have followed for the past two months in Paul Epistle to the Colossians.

To sharpen our perspective, we will take a fresh look at how Paul said he was praying.  We will see it not from the King James Version as has been our rule, but from Eugene Patterson’s The Message, a fresh and contemporary interpretation of Scripture.

Colossians 1:9-12Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

The King James interprets Colossians 1:11 this way—Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.

Although this verse in itself does not have the form of a prayer, it does flow out of the prayer of the preceding two verses.  In this verse are three goals toward which we will move in prayer this month.  They are patience, longsuffering, and joyfulness.  It is just a simple matter of discovering that patience and longsuffering can carry along with them the wonderful companion of joyfulness.

The foundation for what we are learning to pray lies in the words strengthened with all might.  What a powerful set of words!  Both strengthened and might are from the same root word in the Greek New Testament—dunamis.  They could be translated: “empowered with all power.”  What Paul said meant, “I am praying that all the power of God will come into your life and enable you to walk with the following qualities:  patience, longsuffering, and joy.”

Generally we think of things like miracles, mighty ministries, and great works coming as the result of God’s power at work.  But here it is these wonderful qualities that enable a person to come through affliction as an overcomer.  Oh, what a powerful strategy for equipping “soldiers of the cross” for the battles of the last days!

The same power that worked in the tomb to bring the Lord Jesus from the dead is ready to work now in believers to bring forth these three qualities.


FIRST is patience, from the Greek hupmone.  Literally it means “remaining behind when others have left.”  Contrary to what it may seem, it is not a word of defeat, but one that leads to victory.  It presents the picture of a runner still in the race when others have dropped by the wayside.  The person with patience has the ability to bear up under hardship, endure affliction, and hold out until the goal has been reached.  The same power that works miracles works this quality into a person.


SECOND is long-suffering.  The Greek is makrothumía.  William Barclay, in his Daily Bible Study on Ephesians, says makrothumía is a word with two directions of meaning.  One, it describes a “spirit that will never give in and which, because it endures to the end, will reap the reward.”  It never admits defeat.  Two, it is the spirit “which has the power to take revenge but never does so.”  It is the patient enduring of evil.


THIRD is joyfulness, from the Greek word chára.  It is very simple in meaning, but is astounding when we consider it in company with patience and long-suffering.  These two words describe commodities we’d think might rule out joy, until we consider that they are qualities produced by the power of the Lord.  They are qualities that will work in life’s darkest hours, because none of them arise from outward circumstances.  They arise from the power of the Holy Spirit working within.

These things come as the result of people praying......





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