Patience – The First Sign of God’s Servants

Michael Beck

“Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” (2 Corinthians 12:12)

Patience is the first and necessary characteristic of all true gospel ministers. The ground he initially encounters may be hard, resistant, adversarial; or simply “slow to believe.” Frustration must be held in check. Striving in our own aggravation will not unlock stubborn hearts. “By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.” (Prov. 25:15)

Paul gave clear instruction for the Lord’s ministers:

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

Without patience we will not be gentle; neither will we be “apt to teach.” Words which seek to overwhelm our opponent rarely bring them to their knees. The problem though lies in us seeing them as our opponent, resisting us. No, they resist God’s truth and oppose themselves. They are not our enemy; they are victims of the enemy who deceives their heart and blinds their mind. To have any chance of winning them we must be wise. “… He that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30)

The most frustrating experiences of our life afford us the most wonderful opportunities to grow in patience. We would all like to “hit a home run” when communicating truth to others. But very often we must sow in tears. We don’t see the fruit of our labor, but we have given the Holy Spirit the opportunity to go to work in the unseen regions of the heart.

Have you shared the truth with someone who has not received it? Step back, commit your work to the Lord, and pray. You have done your part. You may have done much more than you realize to help that soul escape the devil’s clutches.

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.