Summary: In this sermon, we explore how to cultivate a love that is patient.
A. One of my favorite stories about patience is the story told about the teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his boots.
1. She pulled and he pushed, but the boots still didn’t want to go on.
a. When the second boot was finally on, she had worked up a sweat.
b. She almost whimpered when the little boy said, “Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.”
c. She looked and sure enough, they were.
2. It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off then it was putting them on.
a. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on - this time on the right feet.
b. Once the boots were on, the little boy announced, “These aren’t my boots.”
c. She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, “Why didn’t you say so?” like she wanted to.
3. Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off.
a. Once the boots were off, the little boy said, “The boots aren’t mine. They’re my brother’s boots. My Mom made me wear them.”
4. The teacher didn’t know if she should laugh or cry. She mustered up the grace to wrestle the boots on his feet again.
5. When the boots were back on for the 3rd time, She said, “Now, where are your mittens?”
a. The little boy said, “I stuffed them in the toes of the boots...”
B. Let me ask you: Are you a patient person?
1. In his book, Killing Giants, Pulling Thorns, Chuck Swindoll writes: “Those late, take-offs, those grocery lines, those busy restaurants, those trains! What fertilizer for the thorns of impatience!...Your waitress will not likely be impressed that you can prove the authorship of the Pentateuch. Nor will the gal at the check-out stand stare in awe as you inform her of the distinct characteristics of biblical infallibility which you embrace (although she may stare).”
“One quality, however – a single, rare virtue scarce as diamonds and twice as precious – will immediately attract them to you and soften their spirits. That quality? The ability to accept delay graciously. Calmly. Quietly. Understandingly. With a smile. If the robe of purity is far above rubies, the garment of patience is even beyond that…But, alas, the garment seldom clothes us!”
C. Last week we talked about being clothed with kindness, and today we want to talk about being clothed with patience.
1. God instructs us to have several kinds of patience and all the kinds of patience are important.
2. We are to have the kind of patience that is necessary to await the expected things in life.
a. Like the patience required for the ketchup to come out of the bottle, or the daffodils to come up in the Spring, or the birthday party that is still three months away.
b. But that’s not the kind of patience I’m going to talk about today.
3. Another important kind of patience we need to have has to do with the circumstances or trials that we go through.
a. Often the Greek word used in these situations is hupomone.
b. It is a compound word that means to “remain under the weight.”
c. The word is sometimes translated as “patience,” but more often is it translated as “perseverance” or “endurance.”
d. As we go through trials we are called to be patient and to persevere.
e. But that’s not the kind of patience I’m going to talk about today.
4. Another important kind of patience is the patience that’s required to wait upon the Lord.
a. God’s timetable is much different from ours.
b. We want our prayers answered now, but God knows the right time.
c. But that’s not the kind of patience I’m going to talk about today, either.
D. Since this sermon series is about love and how to live a life of love, the patience I want us to explore today is patience that has to do with people.
1. The Greek word that has to do with having patience with people is makrothumeo.
2. It is a compound word that combines the words “long” (makro) and “wrath” (thumos).
3. The King James Version comes the closest to the literal translation with the term “suffereth long” or “long-suffering.”
4. This kind of patience means that when it comes to dealing with others you have a long fuse instead of a short one, and it takes you a long time to boil over.
E. Let’s look at a few verses where this kind of patience shows up.
1. 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient…” (long-suffering).
2. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “…be patient (long-suffering) with everyone.”
3. Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…”