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Developing Christian Patience

Developing Christian Patience October 18, 2019

Developing Christian Patience

Developing Christian Patience

Galatians 5:22-23

A truck driver sat down to eat at an all-night restaurant. The waitress had just served him his meal when three guys riding Harley’s showed up and swaggered into the diner. One grabbed the man’s hamburger; another took a fistful of his French Fries; and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.

The trucker responded with great patience. He calmly got up from the table, picked up his check, walked to the front of the restaurant, put his money on the cash register, and headed out the door. The waitress watched as the big truck drove off into the night.

When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, “He wasn’t much of a man, was he?” To which she replied, “He’s not much of a truck driver either. He just ran over three motorcycles out in the parking lot.”1

The love of God leads to the joy of God that provides the peace of God. When you have the peace of God, He provides the patience to strengthen that peace.

When God tests me in my faith, He usually does it with my patience. How I deal with circumstances in life and being patient actually strengthens the peace that God provides. When I learn to be patient, it shows in the other fruits as well.

When God wants to make you a better person, He usually does it by testing your patience. One of the reasons is because we don’t live in a very patient society.

because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:3–4, CSB)

5 WAYS THE HOLY SPIRIT TESTS MY PATIENCE

He tests me to be patient with MY AFFLICTIONS

Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” (Romans 12:12, CSB)

An affliction is something that causes pain and suffering. The pain and suffering could be physical or emotional. The point of the affliction that it is uncomfortable. The affliction may last a short or long time. While God does not cause afflictions, He does use them. The Holy Spirit takes my afflictions and uses them to test my patience.

I watched Saving Mr. Banks this weekend. The movie is the story about how Walt Disney struggled to acquire the rights to Mary Poppins from Pamela Travers, the pen name of Helen Goff. The film shows how Travers goes to Los Angeles and works with Disney’s team to make the movie. Throughout the film, there are flashbacks to her children. You begin to understand that the scenes in Mary Poppins are deeply connected to the childhood experiences of Helen Goff. In a critical scene, Disney flies out to London to visit Mrs. Travers. After learning her true name is Helen Goff, Disney makes the connection that she took the name of her father. After realizing the painful experiences that Helen went through in her childhood, Disney shares the story of his childhood and he shares the afflictions that he experienced. Disney explains that he left all of that pain behind and he doesn’t let it affect him today.

All of us have painful experiences in life. The test of patience with my affliction is what will do with that memory. Will I allow my afflictions to keep hurting me today? Or will I let the Holy Spirit use my afflictions to teach me

What afflictions has the Holy Spirit allowed in your life that cause you to learn patience? You need to know that there is purpose in your affliction. The affliction serves a positive purpose in your life.

He tests me to be patient with MY HOPE

Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7–8, CSB)

Much of the value of patience is in waiting for something great. The Holy Spirit tests me to be patient with my hope. He teaches me to wait for something great – the return of Jesus Christ.

A farmer plants a seed and then waits months for the fruit. This does not mean that the farmer is inactive until the harvest. The farmer is still involved. He suffers as the weather makes its impact on his crops. He checks the crop to see if it will bear fruit.

Farmers don’t complain while they wait. They are patient and observant. When they see that something needs to be done to get the plants ready for harvest, they get involved. They kill weeds, they nourish the soil. They endure until the end.

Waiting for Jesus requires patience without complaining. Waiting for Jesus requires endurance during difficult times. Waiting for Jesus requires that we accept the Father’s compassion and mercy even when the soil is not working like we think it should. Farmers can’t cheat their way to a harvest. They are required to do honest work.

The fruit that Jesus would return must be waited upon. It cannot be rushed. It cannot be changed. We have to do our part. God does His part. We wait and prepare for the harvest of souls. We look forward to the return of Jesus just as a farmer looks forward to the harvest of crops.2

So the Holy Spirit teaches me patience by waiting. He also teaches me by learning to bear with people who seem to be unloving. He tests me with difficult relationships, people who I don’t like, but I have to learn to love.

He tests me to be patient with MY TRIALS

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2–4, CSB)

There is a difference between a trial and temptation. The devil tempts you to sin and the result is negative. He wants the worst out of you. The Holy Spirit brings trials into your life to produce something positive. He wants the best out of you.

An unbeliever once read the story of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. As he pondered it, he gave vent to the following expression: “There is a Man who not only suffered, but who knew how to use His suffering.” This is the aim of patience. Let her have a perfect work, James 1:4 says. What does he really mean by that? The word translated “work” here is the Greek {ergon} which indicates that endurance should be active, not passive. James wants to correct a great misapprehension about the word {hupomone}, “patience.” We have seen that this word “patience” actually means “to bear under.” It gives the picture of someone who is under a terrific load. James is saying that as you are bearing that terrific load, don’t remain stationary; move about, exercise your energy. There should be no passive endurance in the Christian life. The Christian should be aggressive, and in spite of the burdens of life he is carrying, he should move forward to the goal that is set before him.3

Why do you iron your shirts? You iron because you want to get the wrinkles out of it. In order for the iron to get wrinkles out, it has to be hot. A “fiery trial” has to be applied to that particular piece of clothing. You want the clothes to be wrinkle-free because you are going to wear them and wearing wrinkles won’t make you look good.

Jesus Christ is within you. He is inside of you and cloaked by you. But we have wrinkles on us that don’t reflect well on Him, so God has to iron them out, which requires fire.

He must address the wrinkles and He does it by using trials. Now, if you insist on wearing a wrinkled life, covering Jesus Christ, thus making Him look bad, then evidently the fire is not hot enough. Since God’s purpose is to conform you and me to the image of Christ, He will make that iron as hot as necessary, and keep it on the wrinkle for as long as necessary, until what we look like on the outside conforms to the life of Christ at work on the inside. Let patience have its perfect work.4

He tests me to be patient with MY FREEDOMS

At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed.” (Matthew 18:29–30, CSB)

We are not a patient people. A survey of 1,003 adults done in 2006 by the Associated Press and Ipsos discovered the following:

While waiting in line at an office or store, most people take an average of seventeen minutes to lose their patience.

On hold on the phone most people lose their patience in nine minutes.

Women lost their patience after waiting in line for about eighteen minutes. Men lost it after fifteen minutes.

People with lower income and less education are more patient than those with a college education and a high income.

People who live in the suburbs are more patient than people who live in the city.5

You know that you don’t have to stand in line in the grocery store very long before you get impatient with the service. You see the twenty-two empty lanes at Walmart and you look at your line and decide to go to the self-checkout because it will be faster. That is a test of your impatience that can only happen in a free society.

Remember the parable of the ungrateful servant. He was ungrateful for the forgiveness that brought freedom in his life. As soon as he was free though, he was unwilling to be patient with another person who owed him money. So one of the ways that the Holy Spirit tests me is with the freedom (or lack of freedom) that I may have. How do I react in these circumstances?

He tests me to be patient with MY RELATIONSHIPS

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” (Ephesians 4:2, CSB)

The patience of God which He uses to be patient with me is the same patience that He teaches me to use with others.

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus,” (Romans 15:5, CSB)

It is very hard to live in harmony with people. Some people we encounter, even Christians, can be challenging to live with. One of the hardest tests the Holy Spirit will give me is the how to be patient with other people.

One of the lessons you quickly learn is that as a Christian, it is not my job to change people. That’s God’s job. The Holy Spirit will do the changing in His people. I need to spend more time being patient and being more encouraging. You want to get in there be the change agent. You want to see people become more like Christ. You have a role to play. As a pastor, it is to mentor others. But as a disciple of Jesus, it is to live a life that shows other people how to live like Jesus.

As I get older, I learn that everyone has their own journey. So, you don’t change people so that they match your journey. They won’t take the same road. They won’t have the same experiences. But we do have the same goal: to be more like Jesus.

When it comes to people who don’t know Jesus, then my patience can be tested even more. These are lost and I am commanded to share Jesus with them. But I can’t force anyone to change, even lost people. All I can do is be a witness.

The bottom line in bearing fruit is to abide in Christ and submit to the Holy Spirit by yielding control of our lives to Him. Galatians 5:16 challenges us to, “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Determine to stay in His place and to only move at His pace. Put patience into practice.

An African woman had become increasingly impatient with her husband. Married life was a strain because she kept blowing up at her spouse. She went to the doctor and asked him for some help. He told her that she must first gather the basic ingredients for such a powerful medicine. The first thing he needed was three hairs from the mane of a live lion.

The lady left wondering how in the world she was going to get close enough to a lion to get three hairs. She decided to take her largest goat and tie it to a tree, hoping to tempt the lion. Sure enough, the lion came and took the goat. The next day she tied another goat to the tree, and the process went on for several weeks until she had sacrificed her entire flock as bait. Each day she managed to get closer to the lion and on the final day managed to talk to him.

I’m sorry to trouble you, but I wonder if I could have three hairs from your mane?” The lion smiled and said, “Of course, take what you wish. After all, I’ve enjoyed your goats.”

The next day the lady triumphantly took the ingredients to the doctor. The doctor turned to her and said, “You must have been extremely patient to get these hairs from the mane of a live lion. Now go home and put the same amount of patience into your marriage!”

Let’s go home and practice patience today.

1 Brian Bill, “Preparing for Patience,” Galatians 5:22-23 sermon, 1 July 2001, Internet, https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/preparing-for-patience-brian-bill-sermon-on-peace-58736, accessed on 5, July 2019.

2 Jim Erwin, “Actively Waiting for Jesus to Return,” James 5:7-12, 7 July 2015, Internet, Patheos, https://www.patheos.com/blogs/jimerwin/2015/07/07/actively-waiting-jesus-return/, accessed on 5 July 2019.

3 AMG Bible Illustrations, Bible Illustrations Series (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2000).

4 Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 328–329.

5 Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof, 1001 Illustrations That Connect (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008), 498. From Trevor Tompson, “Impatience-Poll Glance,” www.hosted.ap.org (May 28, 2006).

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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