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In 1 Tim 6:11 Paul told Timothy to follow after patience, among other things. If you’re going to make it for the long haul in the Christian life, you are going to need patience. Patience requires supernatural strength. That’s why Paul prayed in Col 1:11 that we might be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience. When you follow after patience, you will:
Run your race with patience – Heb 12:1 – “let us run with patience the race the is set before us.” Each of us has a race to run in life. Your entire life is about your race. Everything you do in your life should be for the benefit of your race. Paul knew this and wrote about it in 1 Cor 9:24-27. At the recent preachers’ meeting in Ohio, we reminded the pastors of the importance of doing the basic things consistently and diligently. Not every day is race day with the excitement of a victory. Many days are training and workout days to make race day a success. You must run those days just as well as you run on race day. And if you fall down, which you will invariably do, get back up, Prov 24:16. You can’t win sprawled out on the track. Frankly, there are some who have fallen out of the race during this coronavirus pandemic. You need to get back into the race now. You’re not running.
Be good toward others with patience – 1 Thes 5:14-15 – “be patient toward all men …ever follow that which is good.” Rom 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus. It can take a long time and a lot of effort to build good relationships between you and other people. And sometimes you have to put up with a lot of “stuff” in the relationship to keep it good. Be patient. Good marriages are a good example of the benefits of being patient with others. One preacher said, “Polarity increases friction; it also increases attraction.” Put the effort into patiently building good and lasting relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ, particularly. But do this, as well, with “all men” as Paul said.
Bring forth fruit with patience – Lk 8:15 – “and bring forth fruit with patience.” You are not going to bring forth fruit in your life overnight. The fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of righteousness, the fruit of God’s word, and the fruit of your good works take years to come forth. When you are young you must remember to continually cultivate a fruitful life even though you don’t see much, if any, fruit coming forth. You will reap if you faint not, Gal 6:9. As you get older, remember that you must continue to sow if you want to continue to reap in the Lord’s harvest.
Endure tribulation with patience – Rom 12:12 – “patient in tribulation.” 2 Thes 1:4, “we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.” You are not getting through this life without tribulations. Yet, you don’t want tribulations to overwhelm your faith in Christ. According to Rom 5:3-5 and Jas 1:2-4, tribulations are good for you. So we must endure them with patience until they have accomplished their work.
Take unwarranted suffering with patience – 1 Pet 2:20 – “but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” The closer we get to the coming of the Lord, the more that Christians are going to suffer at the hands of unjust authorities, much the same way that the apostles and disciple suffered in the beginning of the church. Our duty is to take it. When Hitler set up his government, he censured the pastors, many of whom were arrested. He characterized them as weak and easy to control. That’s because they were obedient to God. And who was weak? Hitler committed suicide by shooting himself in April of 1945. The pastors, on the other hand, were either martyred or incarcerated until they were freed by the allies. They were more courageous than he was. If unwarranted suffering comes your way, take it.
Wait for our Lord with patience – 2 Thes 3:5 – “the Lord direct your hearts into… the patient waiting for Christ.” 1 Thes 1:3 “your patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus is definitely coming back. And though he did not come during Pauls lifetime, Paul looked for him daily, Titus 2:13. He’ll be here. Never lose sight of Jesus and never give up hope. He’s soon to be on his way. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Conclusion: follow after patience. Don’t be in a hurry with any of these things that we’ve discussed tonight. Ask the Lord to point out which of these areas in your life needs patience. Thank God that we can look to him for his strength in patience.