Summary: Patience is something that faces us all. The matter of how we handle that patience is the dividing line between being obedeint and just fitting into the mold the the world.
The Power of Patience
A man in Los Angeles, CA was arrested for negligent discharge of a weapon after shooting his toilet bowl with a handgun. He claims that he just got upset. He couldn’t take it any longer. His daughter had flushed a hairbrush earlier in the day and clogged the pipes. So he shot the offending toilet. I have no word on the toilet’s condition, but the man’s patience was long gone.
Someone has said,
Patience is a virtue,
Possess it if you can.
Found seldom in a woman,
Never in a man.
It seems that there is always something to try our patience. Having to wait is one of those things. We wait on traffic and we wait in lines. We wait to hear about a new job. We wait to complete school or to retire. We wait to grow up or for maturity in a child. We wait for a decision to be make.
Everyday presents plenty of occasions for training in patience. We can resent waiting, accept it or even get good at it! But one thing is certain – we cannot avoid it. Perhaps we can hear the Lord speak to us about the possibilities for patience in our own lives today, that is, is we are not in too much of a hurry to get out of here. Amen.
We have all hear the expression; I need patience – and I need it RIGHT NOW!!! The story is told that the great New England preacher Phillip Brooks was known for his calmness and poise. His intimate friends, however, knew that he suffered moments of frustration and irritability. One day a friend saw him pacing the floor like a caged lion. He asked, “What is the trouble Dr. Brooks?” “The trouble is, that I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t.”
Haven’t we all felt that same way many times? Patience is what James addresses in our text tonight. Let’s read James 5:7-11 together.
James here addresses the problems that we all face when problems overwhelm us in all areas of life.
I. When we are Tempted to Lose Patience – Remember it will be Worth the wait! (vv. 7-8a)
• James sets the theme for the whole section with this command he gives right up front.
• In fact he states it twice, once in v. 7, and again in v. 8.
• He begins v. 7 with this command and the word “therefore” or “so then.”
• The people to whom James is writing were experiencing tremendous difficulty and persecution.
• During this time in our text, the wicked rich were oppressing and persecuting the Christians.
• James says, “be patient.”
• Be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others.
• This appears to be perfect advice for what his audience is going through, doesn’t it?
• We know this passage is addresses to believers because James uses the term brethren four times.
• The reason is that the king of patience to which James is referring can only be achieved by a person whose life is connected to God.
• We have all experienced the hurt of mistreatment and misunderstanding.
• Such hurts come in a variety of forms; intolerable work situations, domestic conflicts, difficult relatives, individuals who take advantage of us, friends (so called) who turn against us, neighbors who believe false things about us and dozens of other hurtful circumstances.
• Our natural tendency is to retaliate, to return evil for evil, to get even, or to hold a grudge and become bitter.
• But there is a better way to respond to such hurtful circumstances and James as the pastor of the church of Jerusalem reveals this to his congregation.
• God is calling Christians to overcome our natural reaction with a supernatural response.
• Enduring suffering as a result of sin is nothing extraordinary.
• However enduring unfair treatment with patience is particularly noteworthy.
• When we respond in such a supernatural way, God is pleased.
• Three times James reminds us of the coming of the Lord.
• Titus tells us that this is the “blessed hope” of the Christian in Titus 2:13
• James also gives a classic illustration of patience when he says, “see how the farmer waits” – the farmer is patient because the value of the harvest justifies the wait.
• When the seed is planted and everything is done in the initial stage, he doesn’t go off and retire.
• He is working in another area of the farm.
• While we are waiting for the Lord’s coming, we are not exhorted to put on white robes and sit on the roof of the church waiting for Christ return.
• We are to be occupied.