Summary: Patience perfects Christian character and teaches us how to trust in the Lord. Patience is the tool that God often uses to mature us in Him.
A man and his wife are awakened at 3 a.m. by a loud pounding on their door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger in the pouring rain is asking for a push. “Not a chance,” says the husband- “It’s three o’clock in the morning!” He slams the door and returns to bed.
“Who was it?” asks his wife. “Just a drunken stranger asking for a push,” he answers. “Did you help him?” She asks. “No, I didn’t-it’s three in the morning and raining out.” ‘Well, you’ve got a short memory,” says his wife. “Can’t you remember about three months ago when we broke down on vacation, and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him.”
The man does as he is told and gets dressed and goes out into the pouring rain and calls out into the dark. “Hello-are you still there?” “Yes,” comes the answer. “Do you still want a push?” calls out the husband. “Yes, please!” comes the reply from the dark. “Where are you?” asks the husband. “Over here on the swing,” the drunk answers. (Illustration from Joe Bedy)
I. PATIENCE DEFINED, AND PATIENCE APPLIED
In the Greek – <hupomone> lit., “an abiding under” (hupo, “under,” meno, “to abide”) is almost invariably rendered “patience.” It’s a feminine noun in Greek, meaning it can reproduce after its own kind. Patience is defined further by some of the following words: steadfastness, constancy, sustaining, perseverance, endurance, etc.
A. The Scriptures teach us that patience is of great value during seasons of temptation. – James 1:2-4
1. Notice, James did not say “if” you fall into temptation; he said “when.” We all face seasons in our lives when we seem to be weaker than usual.
Beloved, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV
2. Your attitude determines your altitude. We are to “Count It All Joy!”
In this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory. – 1 Peter 1:6-8 NKJV
a. How much are we going to trust God?
b. Are we going to fall into the trap of murmuring, complaining, and blaming God for every bad thing that we face? 1 Corinthians 10:10 tells us that murmuring will cause us to be destroyed by the destroyer.
c. We get to choose our outcome by our response!
B. Patience is of great benefit during seasons of trial & afflictions
1. Patience is required because faith is being activated. Mark 11:22-24
a. We believe we receive when we pray, knowing that we shall have what we have prayed and believed God for.
b. The walk of faith requires patience. (Keep the Word nigh thee even in thy mouth that is the word of faith.)
II. THE BENEFITS OF PATIENCE
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. – James 1:4
A. Patience perfects Christian character. The word perfect here speaks of maturity.
1. One of the greatest lessons we learn through patience is that no problem is too big for God.
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me and hear my prayer. – Psalms 4:1
B. Patience teaches us to entrust ourselves to the Lord.
1. Patience can only “have her perfect work” if we give her space and time to work. We should not rush what God is trying to do in us!
2. Perseverance brings maturity. Grown-ups don’t always get everything they want.
Parenting Tip: Refrain from giving your children everything they want. Teach them to work (through chores with rewards) for their desires, and you will teach them value.
C. Patience helps Christians grow up in their faith.
1. In Matthew 5:48 (The Sermon on the Mount), Jesus told His listeners, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (This word perfect represents maturity.)
2. The mark of a mature Christian is the fruit that they bear. – Read & Expound Matthew 7:15-20
a. This passage deals with false prophets, but it can also apply to the rest of our Christian walk.
III. BIBLICAL PROMISES CONCERNING PATIENCE
A. “In your patience, possess ye your souls.” Luke 21:19 (KJV)
1. Patience will help you slow down and keep your sanity.