The Virtue of Patience
There once was a man who prided himself on being extremely punctual. He followed a very precise routine every morning.
His alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. He rose, shaved, showered, ate his breakfast, brushed his teeth, grabbed his briefcase, drove to the nearby ferry landing, parked his car, rode the ferry, walked to his building, marched to the elevator, rode to the seventeenth floor, hung up his coat, opened his briefcase, spread his papers out on his desk, and sat down in his chair at precisely 8:00 a.m.
Not at 8:01, not even 7:59.
Always at 8:00 a.m.
He followed this same routine without variation for eight years, until one morning his alarm did not go off, and he overslept. When he did awake, he was panic-stricken.
He rushed through his shower, nicked himself shaving, gulped down his breakfast, swiped his teeth, grabbed his briefcase, jumped into his car, sped to the ferry landing, jumped out of his car, and looked for the ferry.
There it was, out in the water a few feet from the dock. He thought, I think I can still make it! He ran down the dock at full speed. Reaching the edge of the pier, he launched himself over the water and, miraculously, landed with a loud thud on the ege of the ferry deck.
The captain rushed down to make sure he was all right. “Man,” he said, “that was a tremendous leap . . .
but if you would have just waited another minute,
we would have reached the dock, and you could have walked on.”
Good morning, my name is Bob Hostetler
and I’m a member of the Leadership Team here at Cobblestone, a bunch of people who want to love others into life-changing encounters with God.
I hope you have enjoyed this celebration so far and for these last few moments before we conclude, we are going to take a brief look at patience, which was illustrated in the video we just watched.
Patience is a virtue most of us understand generally, but we’re going to take just a few minutes to discuss patience from a Biblical perspective. So let’s answer some key questions about patience. FIRST…
I. Why is Patience A VIRTUE?
Patience is NOT a virtue because Andy Griffith is patient, or even because Daryl Zimmer is patient. It’s a virtue because . . . God is a patient God!
Peter once wrote to Christians who were wondering why Jesus hadn’t returned yet,
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise [to return], as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
God is a patient God; that’s why patience is a virtue, because it’s a part of God’s character. As Paul said,
“I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16)
Our God is a God of “unlimited patience!” We read about His patience all through the Bible. So, patience is a virtue because it’s a part of God’s character. . . But that leads us to the question. . .
II. What is Patience?
Well, let me mention first what patience is NOT. It is NOT
A.Two Greek words are used in the New Testament for "patience."
1. makrothumia --a choice to REFRAIN FROM AVENGING ONESELF, at least right then; it’s a putting off, delaying our anger or desire. Makrothumia is the OPPOSITE OF FIGHT and is related to LOVE.
2. hupomone is a choice to BRAVELY endure that which cannot be controlled (or our convictions demand we not control) rather than resisting it... This is the OPPOSITE OF FLIGHT and related to HOPE.
B. So, Biblically speaking, patience is a quality by which we bravely endure a situation or delay gratification. It is the supernatural result of calm, prayerful, Scripture-sensitive thought.
We live in a world that thinks it’s good to take care of number one and thinks that each of us ought to get what we want when we want it.
For example, Barney, in the video we just saw was very impatient for his good friend Andy to have a wife. But the Bible tells us that we need to be more like Andy, patiently, calmly, prayerfully enduring our circumstances even when they are less than perfect . . . And that means YOU, Diane Lillibridge!
We know that a part of God’s character is patience and that we should display that same character. We also have a better idea of Biblical Patience. Finally, we need to know…
III. How Can We Grow in Patience?
Let me make four simple suggestions very briefly:
1. First, pray for it. The Bible says:
“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galations 5:22)
So I would say pray for God to increase the Spirit’s fruit in your life, and if patience is your desire, pray specifically for patience.
2.Secondly, growing in patience will involve a conscious, daily, prayerful choice to “put it on,” an ongoing decision to cultivate the virtue of patience. Colossians 3:12 tells us that patience is a CHOICE…
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
3. Thirdly, and this is a hard one…We can grow in patience by going through miserable times with God’s help, by persevering even when times are tough. The Bible says,
we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance: perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Now, keep in mind: God doesn’t necessarily cause the miserable times, but He allows them… sometimes to produce patience in us…and he always goes through it with us!!!!
And then, finally,
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
What I mean by that is to purposely pursue patience, with God’s help. As Paul told Timothy,
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11).
That might mean, for example, looking for opportunities—
even throughout this week, each day, perhaps—
to wait instead of rushing,
to bite your tongue instead of lashing out,
to delay gratification,
to bravely endure some unpleasant situation.
I’m not talking about being a masochist, but suppose you want a Dairy Queen after your cheeseburger and fries tomorrow; well, try a little experiment and see if you can practice patience by waiting until the NEXT day for that little treat. Or, the next time you’re in the Express Checkout lane at the grocery store, let the person behind you with only one item go on ahead of you, while you cool your heels. OR SOMETHING like that.
So if you want to develop the godly virtue of patience:
Practice, practice, practice,
Persevere through suffering,
Put it on, and
Pray for it, asking God to produce this fruit of the Spirit in your
heart and life….
And there’s no better time to start than now.
In a moment, I’m gonna close our celebration in prayer, and as I do, there will be several prayer counselors wearing bright green name tags, a couple here at the front and others scattered throughout the room. They’re available to you if you need someone to talk to or to pray with, for any reason….
Now, let’s pray….
We are so grateful to You for giving us Your word to learn from. We thank You for Your guidance in our lives. We ask now for you to give us patience when others hurt us, when things get difficult, when we are tempted to hurry or indulge ourselves. We ask that you grant us patience, power and strength that we may overcome all adversity with a gentle mind and spirit. In Your loving name we pray, Amen.