Summary: Patience is difficult for us all, but if we develop certain good habits, it makes a big difference. Often times patience simply means delaying anger or refusing to rush to a conclusion or action.
Expending Patience Wisely
1. Someone has contrasted the good and bad of patience, “Patience: The quality you admire in the driver behind you but can’t stand in the driver who’s in front of you.”
2. Someone else illustrated patience this way: “When you're being yelled at for something you didn't do, so you wait for them to finish so you can tell them the actual facts.”
3. Like you, I have been at both ends of these example. When it comes to patience, we are all fellow strugglers.
4. Webster defines patience as, “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
5. All cultures & people noted for wisdom recognize the virtue of patience.
• one thing to recognize a virtue, another to practice it in the right balance.
• Too much patience can turn into neglect, denial, indecision, or inaction.
• The right & wrong amount of patience can be debated, but extremes obvious
6. A lot of things affect patience: genetics/personality, environment /upbringing, health, rest, stress, blood sugar, pain, how social we are, our personal walk with God.
Main Idea: Patience is difficult for us all, but if we develop certain good habits, it makes a big difference. Often times patience simply means delaying anger or refusing to rush to a conclusion or action.
I. Habits that BREED Impatience
A. All bark and usually no bite: FEAR we will not address things later
We choose to act in anger because, in the past, our anger dissipated and we never addressed the problems we should address. Same problems keep resurfacing.
1. We may CRITICIZE others’ failure to act. [impatient w/others, not self]
Matthew 23:2-3, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.”
2. But we fail to act, so, in frustration, we RUSH to address things.
• The Civil War — Lincoln had not proclaimed freedom for the slaves —
3. Some problems may have to LIVE with; doing nothing can be a good choice.
• There is nothing harder to sell to people than this concept
• Difference between a calculated “doing nothing” & a chosen “doing nothing”
• So sometimes we end up doing token things to appease…
4. We can trap ourselves in a DIRECTION we do not want or cannot maintain.
• When our energy dissipates, we realize the damage is done.
• Like the drunk man who wakes up & finds himself married to someone he doesn’t know, we find ourselves obligated to continue a course we really didn’t want to pursue.
• …quitting a job, moving, divorcing, changing majors, joining a club, pledging support, trashing a family member who irritates us…done via impatience…
• Wisdom is cautious and counts the cost and direction first…impatience, later
B. Procrastination feeds IMPATIENCE and vice-versa
1. Our past procrastinations push us to act impulsively. Our failure to address problems as they arrive creates pent-up anger that primes us for impatience.
2. “Namely, more than half of the participants who receive their check straight away instead of waiting 2 weeks for a reasonably larger amount, subsequently take more than 2 weeks to cash it.” [Science Direct.com]
C. Forgetting: No MECHANISM to remind ourselves
1. Something as simple as a “to do” list can make a difference.
2. Saving memory (do what you can get done right away so not hanging]
Illustration: I need to bring something to the basement. I can wait until I am making a trip and then take it (but often forget it) or do it right away.
3. Because we don’t remember we get in a frenzy and become impatient
D. An attitude of pride and ENTITLEMENT: We should not have to wait
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.”
E. Unbalanced lifestyle without MARGIN
4. Personal/Social Infrastructure (sleep, eating, exercise, church, events, etc.)
F. Being overly focused: we must learn to DISTRACT ourselves while waiting
Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Often times patience simply means delaying anger or refusing to rush to a conclusion or action.
II. Letting THELOGY Affect Daily Attitudes
A. God’s example of patience: DELAY
1. Postponement, not DENIAL
2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2. God eventually GETS to it
3. DELAY is the greatest key to patience [Jonah 4:2]
4. But God does not ALWAYS delay
Judges 4:16, “So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.”