Summary: This is the fourth sermon in this series about the fruit of the Spirit. 1. Develop a New PERSPECTIVE 2. Acquire a Sense of HUMOR 3. Deepen Your LOVE 4. Depend on the LORD
Fruit of The Spirit – Patience
Becoming More Patient
We have been working our way through the virtues of the Fruit of the Spirit. Our focal verse for this series is from the book of Galatians where it says:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal 5:22-23 (NASB)
Today we are going to look at patience.
The famous psychologist-educator John Dewey said that the most useful virtue in the world is patience. The fact is we need it all the time and we need it everywhere. Proverbs 16:32 says:
“It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities.” Proverbs 16:32 (GNB)
By “testing” our patience – God gives us true patience. It is easy to appear patient when everything is going your way. But what happens when things aren’t going your way? How patient are you? Here are four ways to test you patience.
TEST YOUR PATIENCE
The first test is interruptions. We have all experienced these. You sit down to dinner and the phone rings. Or you are in the bathtub and a salesperson comes to the door. Or you are working on a deadline and visitors arrive. Our best plans are often interrupted.
Jesus’ disciples were just a human as we are. They disliked interruptions. They became impatient with people who interrupted Jesus’ busy schedule. Do you recall the scene in the Bible where people were bringing children to Jesus to have him bless him? The Bible says:
“Then some children were brought to Jesus so that He might lay His
hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus
said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to
Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Mat 19:13-14 (NASB)
The disciples looked at this event as an interruption – Jesus looked at it as an opportunity.
How do you handle interruptions? That is the first test of your patience.
The second test is:
Inconveniences are the second test of your patience. How do you deal with inconveniences in your life? Americans hate to be delayed. We are the “Now Generation.” We have a microwave mentality – we want – what we want – when we want it. We have Minute Rice, instant oatmeal – instant coffee, and fast food. We don’t like to wait.
A hundred and fifty years ago people didn’t worry if they missed a stagecoach – they could always catch another one in a day or two. Today we have a heart attack if we miss the green light! We are in such a hurry. We have to get going. We can’t wait.
Luke 10:40 tells us about a woman who had trouble being patient in the face of inconvenience. Jesus went to the home of Mary and Martha. Martha was busy preparing a meal for the guests. But Mary was not helping. So here is what happens:
“Martha had her hands full of the work of the house, and she came to Jesus and said, “Lord, is it nothing to you that my sister has let me do all the work? Say to her that she is to give me some help.”
Luke 10:40 (BBE)
Martha was upset with her sister because Mary had left her to do all the work. Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever felt that the load you were carrying was not fair? There should be others to help you. How do you react? Are you patient despite the inconvenience?
The third test is:
The third test of your patience is irritations – those little things in life that bug you. Here is a list of some irritations – slow traffic – long lines – flat tires – hot weather – the list could go on and on. Some of these irritations are controllable – but most of them aren’t. So we have to learn to cope. How do you handle them? It takes patience.
We read about Moses in the book of Numbers where he became irritated with the Israelites on one particular occasion. He had put up with their petty complaints and criticisms for years and now he had no patience left. When God told him to speak to the rock to get water but here is what happened:
“Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, "Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?" Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.” Num 20:10-11 (NASB)