The longer you live and the more stuff through which you go, the more you learn about the Christian life. According to Rom 5:3-5, as you go through things, you’re going to need some patience. Patience helps you acquire spiritual experience. However, patience is not something for which you want to pray. The Lord can definitely teach you patience, but you’re better off to just learn to be patient and learn to derive the benefits of patience. Patience yields:
Better prayer – Ps 40:1 – truly you need to give God time to work out the answers to your prayers according to his timing and according to the best possible answer, which may not be the very thing for which you are praying. You can rest in the Lord and quit worrying Ps 37:7. As a preacher said, “Worry is the advanced interest you pay on trouble that rarely comes.” If you find that you are not getting the peace that the Lord promises in Phil 4:6-7, perhaps you are still worrying too much. That passage starts out, “Be careful for nothing.” And one of the best ways to do that is to be patient.
Better fruitfulness – Lk 8:15 – it takes time for you to develop into a fruitful Christian bearing the fruit of the Spirit. Likewise, it takes time for souls to whom you are witnessing to get saved. Like one of our fellows said, “I’m taking it slow with one fellow to whom I’m witnessing because he needs time to digest what I’m saying.” Too often we get the idea that soul winning means you are supposed to come back with souls won to the Lord every time you go out. That’s not so. You need to be content to sow. Give the Holy Spirit time to bring forth fruit from the words of God that you sow. If they want Jesus and eternal life, they’ll eventually get saved.
Better fellowship – Rom 15:5 – it takes time for good Christian friendships to develop. It takes time for believers to become likeminded concerning things of the faith. We don’t all start out believing the same thing. But that’s not a reason to cross swords. Some of the best friends you will ever have in the Lord will be people with whom you have survived a conflict. It takes time for us to grow; so be patient.
Better endurance – Heb 12:1 – patience keeps you from quitting your race when things get tough. It helps to remember that the Christian life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. And there is a great mental battle in this race we run that can be overcome if you run with patience. You have to realize that if you are not at the finish line yet, but you are where you are supposed to be along the course of the race, you are doing just fine. And remember, every race has a finish line. Don’t drop out of the race before you get there.
Better hope – Rom 15:4 – patience helps you to keep your confidence in the promises of God. You see how God brought to pass all that he promised in the Old Testament. And he will bring to pass all that he promised that hasn’t been fulfilled yet. He will return. I’m just as certain and excited about the return of the Lord today as I have always been. He will reign.
Conclusion: be patient. The Lord will work out everything in his time. Keep praying, he’s listening. Keep sowing, the word yields fruit. Keep your fellowship with fellow believers, the Lord strengthens you through the tough stuff. Keep running, there is a finish line. Keep your hope, Jesus is coming.