HOW TO DEVELOP PATIENCE?
You need patience in every area of your life. As a little kid, some of you’ll all your life to start school, then you couldn't wait until you got out of school, then you couldn't wait until you decided to be in love, then you couldn't wait to get married, then you couldn't wait to have kids, ... we spend a lot of our lives waiting. There are many things in life that test our patience: freeways, supermarket lines, doctor's offices, irritating people.
WHEN SHOULD I BE PATIENT?
James says there are three special times when you need that extra dose of patience:
1. When circumstances are uncontrollable
James 5:7 "Be patient then brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is ..."
We need to have patience in uncontrollable circumstances. Have you figured out that a lot of life is beyond your control? James uses a farmer as an example of when circumstances are uncontrollable. In Palestine, where James is talking about, it wasn't the best of farming land, so they needed extra patience. Part of the job description of being a farmer is you do a lot of waiting: waiting to till, waiting to plant, waiting to prune... there are a lot of factors in waiting. Yet more than the factors of waiting on things to do are the factors that the farmer has no control over -- weather, rain, heat, the economy, labor practices... You deal with a lot of uncontrollable factors -- circumstances -- in life.
When we realize a situation is beyond our control, we still try to control it? How do we do that? By worrying. To worry about something you can change is dumb, to worry about something you can't change is useless. Either way you shouldn't worry. We need to have patience in uncontrollable circumstances.
2. When people are unchangeable
James 5:10 "As an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord."
We need patience when people won't change, won't make a difference. James uses prophets as an example. What was the duty of prophets? To help people change, bring them back to God, to be different in their behavior. Have you noticed that people resist change? When you make any little tiny suggestion, they resist you! They may never change. What are you going to do about it? James says to have patience. If you're going to be a success with people, you have to learn patience.
3. When problems are unexplainable
James 5:11 "You have heard of Job's perseverance
Job had everything going for him. In a two-day period, everything fell part. He went bankrupt, his children were murdered, he got an incurable, deadly disease that was very painful. You think you've got problems, had a rough day! He lost his family, his friends, his finances. One day his wife comes to him and says, "Curse God and die!" Now that's a support system! God allowed the devil to take away everything in his life except a nagging wife. For 37 chapters in the book of Job, God doesn't even talk to him and tell him why it's happening. There was no apparent reason for his misfortune. Life is not fair! That is true. God never said it would be fair. A lot of things in life just don't make sense. Maybe we'll never understand on this side of heaven. Job didn't understand. In all of those unexplained problems, Job maintained his faith. When circumstances are uncontrollable, when people are unchangeable, and when problems are unexplainable you really need patience.
WHY BE PATIENT?
1. Because God is in control
James 5:8 "Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."
James says, 'The Lord's coming is near', Jesus is coming back. That is the ultimate proof that God is in control. Nothing can stop it. The Bible talks more about Jesus' second coming than it does about His first coming. Yes, he is waiting for His people, but He's got it all planned. God is in control. God's will for your life is greater than any problem you're facing right now.
Though a situation may be out of my control, no circumstance is out of God's control. so I ought to trust Him. Because God is in control and everything is working out, be patient. Job persevered. God's timing is perfect, He's never late. Some of you are experiencing a real delay right now but God's delays never thwart His will for your life.
2. God rewards patience.
James 5:11a "As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered."
The second half of Job's life was more blessed than the first half. God doubled everything he had. It pays to be patient. There are all kinds of rewards. Your character grows, you get along with people better, you're more happy, you reach your goals. There are lots of benefits of being patient. God rewards it. You'll be honored by others. They'll say, "He's a patient person."
But not just on this side of eternity, but on the other side you're going to be rewarded. Matthew 5:13-14 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven. When people put you down, when they criticize you, be patient, because there's going to be a reward in heaven. It is our natural tendency -- one of the strongest desires in life -- that when you're hurt, you want to get even. You want to retaliate, get revenge, take matters into your own hands. If you get insulted, you want to insult back. The next time someone criticizes you, before you strike back, think about this, is it worth giving up the reward I'm going to have in heaven? I'm going to enjoy that a whole lot longer than the temporary pleasure of revenge.
3. Because God is working things out
James 5:11 "You have heard of Job's perseverance, and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
God was working, all the time that Job was not knowing what was going on. A delay does not mean a denial. If you've been praying for an answer to prayer and you haven't gotten it, you think God doesn't want to give it to you. No. A delay is not a denial. We have to learn the difference between "no" and "not yet". Big difference. We want and we want it now. But we have to be patient. God is at work, even when we don't see what's going on. While I am waiting, God is working. You need to remember that! Philippians 2:13 "God is at work within you." Maybe you can't see it, but He is. Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things, God is working." In every circumstance in your life, God is working. Be patient. If you are a child of God and desiring to serve him it doesn’t matter what kind of problem you have, regardless of the problem you're going through (spiritual, relational, health, financial) God is working in that problem. Be patient and trust Him.
WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING WHILE I'M WAITING ON GOD?
James says consider these three illustrations: look at them and realize what they did and do what they did while you're waiting on God.
First the farmer. What did the farmer do?
1. Wait expectantly
I must expect a harvest. I must believe that it is inevitable, that I've done the right thing. What does a farmer do while he's waiting on God? While he's waiting on the harvest, the farmer is preparing for the answer. He's getting ready. Waiting is a time for preparation which shows your expectation. Psalm 130:5 (LB) "... I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for He has promised." What are you waiting for from God? Maybe to heal a long-term illness, or to transform your marriage, or to reverse your financial problems.
The Bible says Matthew 9:29, "According to your faith it will be done unto you." Are you preparing for the answer? If the answer came today, would you be ready? Preparing demonstrates expectation. A lot of times when we are waiting on God, He's really waiting on us. He was ready to give the answer a long time ago but we were not ready to receive it. Isaiah 49:23 "The Lord says ... No one who waits for my help will be disappointed."
2. Wait quietly
James 5:9 "Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged."
We have a tendency to run off at the mouth when we're irritated, when we're tense, when we're under pressure, when things aren't going our way. James warns us of two things to avoid.
Avoid grumbling. James 5:9 "Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged."
When you get up in the morning, do you rise and whine or rise and praise?
Avoid swearing. James 5:12 "Above all, my brothers, don't swear
Sometimes when you get frustrated do feel swearing. How do you normally respond? We unload on our husbands, our wives, our children, and it's not even their fault. But we're frustrated and impatient. We displace our anger and focus it on those we love the most. James says don't do that. Lamentations 3:26 "It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
3. Wait confidently
Micah 7:7 "I will wait confidently for God."Job never lost his confidence in all that he did. When the outlook is bad, you look up. When you've got a problem that's unexplainable, a person who is unchangeable, a circumstance that is uncontrollable then wait confidently. God is working. Ps. 37:7 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act."