The word, "long-suffering" is from the Greek word makrothumia, which is a compound of the words makros and thumos. The word makros means long. It is where we get the word macaroni, which of course, is a long noodle. The word makros indicates something that is long, distant, far, remote, or of long duration. The work thumos means anger, but it also embodies the idea of swelling emotions or a strong and growing passion about something. When compounded into one word, it forms the word makrothumia, which pictures the patient restraint of anger and therefore denotes long-suffering. It can be translated as the words forbearance and patience.
The word makrothumia (long-suffering) is like a candle that has a very long wick and is therefore prepared to burn a long time. It is ready to forbear and patiently wait until someone finally comes around, makes progress, changes, or hears what you are trying to communicate.
If you don't allow "long-suffering" to work in you, you will end up frustrated with everyone all the time -- including yourself. So decide to let the Holy Spirit supernaturally produce "long-suffering" in you today. You'll be more tolerant of others, more peaceful with yourself, and a lot more loving and patient toward those whom you love and needs so much!
Not only do you need long-suffering, you also need gentleness. The word "gentleness" comes from the Greek word chrestotes, which means to show kindness or to be friendly to others and often depicted rulers, governors, or people who were kind, mild, and benevolent to their subjects. Anyone who demonstrated this this quality of chrestotes was considered to be compassionate, considerate, sympathetic, humane, kind, or gentle.
Some have noted that when the word chrestotes is applied to inter-human relationships, it conveys the idea of being adaptable to others. Rather than harshly require everyone else to adapt to his own needs and desires, when chrestotes is working in a believer, he seems to become adaptable to the needs to those around him.
When the Holy Spirit is producing His fruit of gentleness in you, you'll hear yourself thinking and saying, "How can I be different for you? Is there any way I can change that will help you? Is there anything that I can do better for you? How can I serve you and meet your needs more effectively?"
Do you find yourself thinking about how you can reach others? Do you think of ways you can change to be a bigger blessing to people in your life? If you are starting to consider how you can be more for those who are around you, that is a strong indication that the Fruit of the Spirit called "gentleness" is starting to work in you.
And if it hasn't started to work in you yet, today would be a great day for you to ask the Holy Spirit to start producing this Christ-like attribute in your life!
Stay tuned for more description of the fruit of the Spirit this week, Greek week, here on Ironstrikes.
This post was adapted from the writings of Rick Renner as found in his book: Sparkling Gems from the Greek