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We are called upon to exhibit patience in many ways. When sharing Christ with a non-believer many times patience is required. They will try to twist what you say to mean something else. Or, in most cases, they will just not allow you to penetrate wall of indifference they have erected around themselves. Be patient. Keep trying to reach them for Christ. Your efforts will pay off.
"Therefore, as elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." (Colossians 3:12,13)
Kindness shown to a brother or sister in Christ and those outside of Christ is perhaps most beautiful part of being a Christian. As an elder in my local congregation, I have good fortune to be able to go out into community on Lord's Day and serve communion to folks that are home-bound or in nursing homes. To be able to share Christ with these lovely people and to show kindness to them by visiting with them and holding their hand is a true blessing for me. They always ask for prayer and are so appreciative of kindness we are able to show them.
We are "ambassadors for Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:20) while we are on this earth. As such, it is our desire to do goodness as we see need. To do good deeds - to help others in need, to serve local congregation, to help a neighbor, visit sick, etc. - is to do work of Christ. And we should not keep our goodness to ourselves and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus said, "Do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) Spread goodness around. You may be surprised when you do something good to help someone whom you think (and perhaps they really do) hate you. Goodness and kindness has a way of softening even hardest heart.
How could we even begin to think about being a true Christian and not be faithful. I know there are those who sit in church every Sunday morning thinking that being there is all they must do to show their faithfulness. They are deceived! Let us not be deceived. Faithfulness is much more than occupying a seat in a pew on Sunday morning.
For sure, faithfulness is "being there" to worship God; not only on Sunday morning, but as often as we can. Faithfulness is also being faithful in our giving to further Lord's kingdom in our communities and around world. It is being faithful to meet around Lord's Table each and every Lord's Day as did early church. It is being faithful to study Word of God daily, and to pray each day. It is being there to help those in need and to share Christ with those who have not made Him their Lord and Savior.
But still, faithfulness is more. In John 14:15 Jesus said it all concerning faithfulness, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Faithfulness is loving Christ. Loving Christ is keeping His commandments. Keeping His commandments is following His word to best of our abilities - to BEST of our abilities!
It always amazes me how someone who claims Christ as Lord of their life can be so cold and matter of fact in dealing with others. Some people have a way of being brutally truthful and thinking that it is a virtue. "I tell it just way it is!" I had someone tell me that one day. I gently responded, "You tell it way you think it is, but that does not make it true." Being gentle in our words to others is very important if we are to let Spirit bear fruit in our lives.
Cutting words, no matter how truthful, is not of God. Gentleness is caring about others' feelings. Don't lie. But don't be cold, hard, and brutal either.
Self-control is not merely keeping our tongue under control. It is making wise choices about our lives. It is avoiding pit-falls of smoking, drinking, and riotous living. It is being disciplined enough to be faithful and using our talents for God. It is keeping our personal finances under control. It is rearing our children to be Christians and to love God.
The fruit of Spirit is what being a Christian is all about. We have just touched on these. Study them and have them in your life.
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of The Home Bible Study Institute.
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