Our human nature has always been impatient. It doesn’t require much effort. That’s why patience is referred to as a virtue or an art form. It takes practice. For evangelism, the fruit of patience is a work of God in us. And it becomes one of the most important attributes for believers who are concerned about advancing God’s kingdom.
Most people struggle with patience, because we are constantly losing it.
We misplace cell phones and are car keys tend to go missing.
Wallets and earrings like to pay hide-and-seek.
As easily as we lose things, believers often misplace gentleness, peace, and self-control.
Thankfully, we have a God with an everlasting arm of patience that stretches out as far as the east meets the west. And we need every inch of his forgiveness.
Exercising patience means using the right muscles. Rooted in faith, secure in God’s righteousness, firmly attached to the Vine – the spiritual fruit of patience is Christ’s work in us. Only then, can it blossom and ripen — not for our benefit, but to be picked by others.
Extending the low-hanging and delicious fruit of patience prompts unbelievers to inquire of its origin. And we eagerly respond to listening ears the hope that we have in Christ.
But that’s not all. I believe patience is vital for evangelism for another important reason.
Patience evokes endurance.
Notice that the words “endurance” and “patience” are partners in Scripture.
“…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:11-12)
When we lack patience, frustration seeps in. And when frustration simmers, it can boil over into angry words that burns bridges instead of builds them. The bitter fruit of anger can be lasting and leave singe marks on the trusses of lost souls. Patience is not a sprint that stops and starts over the course of time, but a long march that requires endurance.
When believers don’t have endurance, they give up way too soon on unbelievers. We stop loving. We stop listening. We stop praying for them. We refrain from planting seeds of the gospel because we deem them as hopeless or a lost cause.
Exercising the fruit of patience means trusting God’s promises. What can this look like?
Trusting God’s timetable instead of our own.
Trusting that God’s Word works.
Trusting the Lord of the harvest when he says that the fields are ready, and the workers are few.
Trusting that the Lord desires that all people be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.
When believers are exercising the fruit of patience, it allows them to make good decisions that are spirit-filled rather than emotional reactions. They respond well to every situation that is thrown their way. They consistently display Christ’s love despite the hurts, disappointments, and the quirkiness of others.
Most of all, patience breeds hope. And hope rooted in Christ never disappoints.
Hope in Christ endures.
We can pray,
“Thank you Lord for your enduring patience with me. Please forgive me for all the times I have lost patience with others and the times that I will, more than likely, lose patience in the future. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. With a heart filled with thanksgiving, and guilt removed, I desire to proclaim your message of salvation with others. Grant me the fruit of patience so that I may endure in providing your gospel message with others, fully trusting your promises, and extending your love and grace so that you may be visible through me. Prompt me to take full advantage of your means of grace so that I may remain in your presence. Only then, can I have great endurance and patience. Amen.”