Summary: We continue our series on fruit of the Spirit by examining patience.
1. It is not part of my nature. I wish I could be that way but it just isn’t me. If there is one thing I struggle with - it is being patient. I’m the type of person who will ask God for patience but only on one condition - I WANT IT NOW.
2. Would you say that you are patient? Perhaps in some things but not in others.
3. This evening we consider the fruit of patience - a fruit that reflects the character of God.
4. And yet what I often see - in myself and in others - that the more zealous and sincere we become in our faith - the less patience we have with those who do not share our zeal. Who or what is it that tests your patience? Unbelievers, circumstances, God’s inaction, other believers?
1. This evening we consider this fruit of the Holy Spirit, why we struggle with it and how we are able to cultivate it.
2. As with all of fruit, since it represents the character of God, we first consider God’s patience.
a. Over and over again in OT we see God’s patience with His people. They turn from Him and He patiently brings them back. He places them into situations in which they must call on Him for help.
b. If it were you or me we would probably have turned away from them. "If that’s the way you want to be, fine, go your way, I give up on you".
3. Why is God patient?
a. It is His nature, a result of His compassion and love. When servant pleaded with king for patience in Mat 18 he was moved with compassion to forgive the servant’s debt. His patience with mankind reflects His love for us.
b. 2Pet 3:9-10 says the Lord is patient with us so that we may turn back to Him. He knows that things and people change - thru the Holy Spirit.
c. I have great impatience with those who do confession of faith and seldom show up again. I burn inside. Yet for 5 years that was me and my church was patient. Not once did I get pushed to go back. But God was patient and in time brought me back - He changed me. So I (we) need to be careful and sensitive, knowing that God is at work in them as well.
4. Not mean that we or God just let things go. See 2Pet 3:10. There will be a day when God’s judgement will come, when the opportunity to repent will pass - when we die or when Christ returns.
5. Yet even then God’s patience great, In Rev - destroy only part of world so more would repent - yet none did.
6. But while God is patient, we must not assume that means we can get away with sin etc. (Rom 2:4). There is a day of reckoning, when God’s patience may seem to run out, but really He knows that waiting any longer won’t change us.
7. Easy for me to say see I need only be patient so long. Usually problem is that we consider a week a long time to be patient whereas God looks more at long run - in my case 5 years. I want all nice and fixed up right now - but people take time to deal with things and often life is the best teacher - not my quick easy answer (as OT shows).
8. We now turn to ourselves and the passage in James, who tells us a number of things we are to be patient with.
9. He begins with "now listen " or "then" which ties back to first 6 verses of Jas 5. He has been talking the rich who failed to pay their workers, who had let their workers suffer while they in luxury and self-indulgence.
a. This represents the wickedness and unfairness of this world. We want justice to prevail, especially when we are mistreated ourselves. Why does God not do something about these situations? Look what they get away with? - and they act so self-righteous
b. James says "Be patient". In other words do not trust in your own sense of timing but in God’s timing. The Lord will come and when He judges these things, these people will be taken care of.
c. PATIENCE IS WAITING IN THE LORD. To not be patient is in a sense, as one said, practical atheism. It is leaving God out of our thinking, - forgetting that He is God and is in control.
d. It is trying to take control of the situation ourselves and taking His place, just as Saul did when He could not wait for God’s timetable in 1Sam 13:8ff - not wait for Solomon but made sacrifice himself. He thought "God must have overlooked this, I better take care of it."