Got Patience??

GOT PATIENCE?

Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is a calm rest, based on the certain knowledge that God is in control. Knowing God is in control, patience does not hastily retaliate against a wrong and it accepts delay or disappointment graciously. During trials, patience continues to trust Jesus and follow Him.

James 5:7-8 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 for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

In other words, patience waits for God’s perfect time with complete confidence in Him. To wait upon God is not to sit with folded hands and do nothing, but to wait expectantly as one waits for the harvest. The farmer does not wait idly. With industrious activity, he prepares for the harvest. He has harvesting equipment to service or repair. He has grain bins, barns, and silos to clean out. He has to arrange the marketing of the crop. Then when the crop is ripe and the weather is perfect, he is ready to harvest the crops without delay.

In the same way, we, who are in Christ, are to wait patiently for the Lord’s harvest, a time when the Lord will separate the good from the evil. While we wait, we are to prepare people for this Harvest by actively making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 14:14-16 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

Our problem with patience is we are not patient. We are born with a sin nature that is naturally impatient.

When a baby wakes up in the middle of the night and is hungry, or its diaper is wet, it doesn’t lie there and think, "I know Mom and Dad are tired. So I’ll just wait until a more convenient time to let them know that I need something to eat or my diaper changed."

No! That baby cries impatiently and continues to cry until it receives the attention it demands. Children have to learn to wait. Have you ever traveled with a child?

A little 4-year-old boy, who was traveling with his mother, kept asking the same question over and over again? "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" Finally, the mother got so irritated that she shouted, "We still have 90 more miles to go. So don’t ask me again!" Well, the boy was silent for a several minutes. Then he timidly asked, "Mom, will I still be four when we get there?"

As we get older, we gain more understanding about time, but our impatient nature remains. It is revealed in acts of pride, selfishness, and anger. You see examples of this at work, at school, and on the highways (road rage).

For example, a man’s car stalled in heavy traffic just as the light turned green. All his frantic efforts to get the car started failed, and a chorus of honking horns behind him made matters worse. He finally got out of his car and walked back to the first driver behind him and said, "I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to get my car started. If you’ll go up there and try to start it, I’ll stay here and honk your horn for you."

We live in an impatient culture. We’re either on a fast track or in a rat race. We’re in a world of fast food, quick print, expressways, 10-minute oil changes, instant cameras, microwaves, and 5G internet. Consequently, we assume impatience is normal.

More than that, we even believe that impatience is a virtue. We like hard-charging people who speak their mind and get things done quickly. But God doesn’t see things that way. He sees impatience as a folly and patience as a virtue.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Proverbs 14:29 A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.

Have you ever impatiently said something and wished you could take your words back? We don’t get them back, do we? The words fly out there, and people remember what we said. We can tell them that we didn’t mean it, but they don’t believe it. Because the truth is “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. What we are really sorry for is that we impatiently spoke and it revealed what was in our heart. Now we must confess it, repent, and make restitution.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:34-37, “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Obviously, we need patience. So, how do we acquire patience? The answer is the same to the questions: "How do we acquire love? How do we acquire joy? How do we acquire peace? How do we acquire self-control? How do we acquire the fruit of the Spirit?" The answer is always the same, "Remain in Christ and be filled with His Spirit.”

Jesus says in John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

So, it is essential to receive the Spirit that only Jesus Christ can give. And it is vital that we stay filled with His Spirit every day. The Holy Spirit produces patience when we’re resting in Christ, walking in His steps, reading His Word, dying to ourselves, picking up our cross, following Him, praying unceasingly, and spending intimate time with Him.

We practice patience by fellowshipping with brothers and sisters in Christ, who give us opportunities to be patient. Yes, sometimes we irritate each other. Christians, who do not mean to be a trial, are nevertheless a trial. That is when we practice patience. If we are patient with them, God is glorified. Furthermore, we will find they are the same ones who will encourage us, support us, and pray with us during our trials.

Proverb 19:11 A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Since the Holy Spirit is the source of patience, we need ask our Father every day to fill us with His Spirit and let Him handle the frustrations of life. When faced with difficulties, do not worry and do not try to brace yourself up to meet them. Instead, go to the throne of God to get grace in your time of need. God’s patience comes to us as we abide in Jesus and His Spirit abides in us.

Again, patience waits expectantly on God in perfect confidence. If you love God and He delays the answer to your prayer, you don’t misjudge Him, you don’t think of Him as an unkind father, or an unjust judge, but you keep praying and seeking His will.

Colossians 1:10-12 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

When we fully trust the Lord, there is a profound joy of the Spirit that causes us to give thanks in all circumstances, and the fruit of the Spirit, which includes patience, is expressed in our lives.

James 1:2-4 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

We should not pray so much for the removal of a trial, as for joy and patience while God uses the trial to perfect us. A mind that focuses steadily on God and His purposes will grow patient by trials and will be conformed to the image of Christ.

Remember, the Christian life is a life that bears a strong likeness to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit does not patch up our natural virtues; He re-makes the whole of our being until we find that every virtue we possess is His alone. It is His love, His joy, His patience, etc., not ours.

For example of how the Holy Spirit changes us, let’s suppose I have the disposition of a fault-finder. That means I will be critical, gossiping, unloving, and impatient towards others. But if Holy Spirit controls my sinful nature and gives me the love of God, I will have grace to be patient with the roughest people. I will see nobility and possibilities where before I only saw unrighteousness!

As we identify ourselves with God’s interests in other people, our Heavenly Father will bring us around the type of people who are to us what we have been to Him. Then, He will watch how we behave towards them. How did Jesus treat us? With infinite patience, forgiveness, and love.

“Now,” He says, “you treat them in the same way that I treat you.”

Colossians 3:12-13 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

There is no patience equal to the patience of God. The Word says, “God is love (1John 4:16), and Love is patient (1Cor 13:4).” Yes, God is patient because He is love. He wants everybody to be saved. That’s why Jesus died on the cross.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Every day that the Lord delays His return is one more day for people to repent and come to Him for salvation, but He will not delay forever. When the time for salvation is over, a day of judgment is coming. Are you ready for that day?

Romans 2:4-5 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

Jesus came to atone for our sin on the cross. His blood sacrifice saves all, who will believe in Him, from the wrath of God. Because God is patient, the door of salvation is open today. None of us has a guarantee of tomorrow.

Therefore, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the cross. Then repent, turn from being your own god and living in sin, and make Jesus the Lord of your life. Publicly proclaim Jesus as your Savior and Lord by dying to yourself in water baptism. Jesus will raise you up and give you a new life, born of His Holy Spirit. As you obey the Holy Spirit and deny your flesh, He will produce patience and all the fruit of the Spirit in your life.