We talk about time all the time. According to the editors of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, time is the most frequently used noun in the English language. Even our self-help books are mostly about how to do things faster. We’re all in a hurry, and we don’t even know why. But we need to remember to enjoy the journey on the way to our destination. This is your life! Don’t miss it because you are moving so fast.
James writes about the importance of patience in James 5:7-12. In this passage, he uses the word patience or patient six times and gives 3 pictures of patience.
WHEN DO I NEED TO BE PATIENT?
There are some times in life where it is especially important to practice patience.
When circumstances are uncontrollable.
We may be control freaks but have less control than we like to admit.
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. (James 5:7)
It takes a lot of faith and waiting to be a farmer.
Don’t try to control your uncontrollable circumstances by worrying.
When people are unchangeable.
Change is hard for everyone. The Old Testament prophets knew that very well.
For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (James 5:10)
When problems are unexplainable.
For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. (James 5:11b)
Job lost everything and he couldn’t figure out why.
There are things we go through that will never make sense on this side of eternity.
WHY SHOULD I BE PATIENT?
1. Because God is in control
God is bigger than any problem you will ever face! God is writing an incredible story, called His Story. I had a history professor who said, “I don’t teach history, I teach His Story.” Everything that happens is moving in a specific direction. Nothing will stop God from completing the story that He is writing through history.
You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:8
James says, “Jesus is coming back,” three different times in this passage. We know some things for sure about Jesus return:
• Jesus is coming back.
• Jesus is coming personally.
• Jesus is coming visibly.
• Jesus is coming back for His followers.
God has perfect timing. He’s never early and he’s never late. So we can trust in his schedule.
2. Because God rewards patience
We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. James 5:11a
The second half of Job’s life was even better than the first half. God gave Job back twice as much as he had before.
The Benefits of Patience:
- You grow your character.
- You’re happier.
- You’re more content.
- You have better relationships.
- You make better decisions.
- You get better results.
- But the best benefit is: Eternal Rewards
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven…” Matthew 5:11-12
Before you retaliate against someone who has wronged you, ask yourself, “Is the temporary satisfaction I’m going to get from getting back at them worth giving up the reward that God wants to give me for eternity, that will last forever?”
3. Because God is working things out.
God is working things out for your good in ways that you can’t even see when you trust in Him.
You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy. (James 5:11c)
God’s delays are not denials.
God is working while I’m waiting!
HOW CAN I BE PATIENT?
What to do while you’re waiting on God
1. Wait expectantly (vs. 7)
I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in His word. Psalm 130:5
What are you counting on God for? For your marriage to be transformed? To be healed from a long-term illness? For your kids to turn back to God? For a change in your financial situation? If you believe God can make a difference in your situation, you will be already getting ready for the answer to come.
Sometimes, when I’m waiting on God, God is really waiting on me to mature and to grow up and to get stronger so that I can handle the kind of blessing that He wants to give me.
Jesus ministry started when He was 30 years old. He waited 30 years for 3 years of public ministry, and He did more in those three years than anyone else has ever done in their whole life.
Those who hope in me will not be disappointed. Isaiah 49:23 (NIV)
You’ll never regret trusting in God.
2. Wait quietly (vs.9)
“Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged.” James 5:9
The daily news should just be called, “What bad things happened today.” The local news should be called, “What bad things happened closest to me today.” We love to report the bad news.
Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. James 5:12
So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. Lamentations 3:26
This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3
If God has placed a dream in your heart, don’t give up.
3. Wait confidently (vs. 11b)
As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. Micah 7:7
HOPE stands for: Holding On Praying Expectantly
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7
Why hasn’t Jesus come back yet? Because He’s waiting on one more person to trust in Him, to become part of His forever family.