The Battle for Patience

We're picking back up with the sin of impatience.

Last episode we saw how impatience can be battled by learning to overlook offenses by others that commonly breed impatience within your own heart. We hope you sought to practice it a bit over the week and if so, that you saw improvements.

This sin is a hard one to root out and it takes practice.

Today we have two more principles to share that will give you more help in fighting against impatience.

Principle #2 A godly person learns to lovingly confront offenses.

Again, if you often find yourself impatient with something that somebody is doing, and you can’t overlook it, then you should address it, especially if it is sin.

Matthew 18:15 is clear that if someone sin you should go and show his fault.

Now this seems contrary to the previous point that we can overlook a sin (1Pet. 4:8), but what is in view here is an egregious sin or a pattern of sin.

Again, a sin committed that is not normally committed, should be overlooked.

For instance, if someone shows impatience toward you, or if someone speaks an unkind word, or acts in a selfish manner.

These we can simply overlook, if it is not the person’s normal character or habit.

But if the sin is a pattern in the person’s life, then you should confront them. Not only will this help you from getting impatient, but you will serve your brother or sister well.

There are times where you overlook an offense so long, that you are no longer overlooking something, but encouraging negligence or sin in a person’s life. When this happens, you can only blame yourself when you find yourself getting frustrated faster and quicker with someone.

Impatience and frustration is always your fault, because it’s an issue of the heart. But it is especially the case when you choose not to address true sinful patterns in another person’s life (e.g., your spouse, child, etc.).

When they keep doing a sinful action, and you get frustrated with them because it is affecting you, you now bear responsibility.

As a side note, it is important to keep in mind that when a person sins against you, it does not give room for you to respond in sinful impatience, frustration, or anger.

Now, there is a righteous kind of anger. In fact, God is the perpetual state of this (e.g., Deut. 9:8; Rom. 2:5). So when a person truly sins against you, you are allowed to be angry at the unjust nature of the act. However, the purpose of the anger is to lead you to a righteous response that will deal with it in a true, just manner.

NOTE: People talk about anger being a useless emotion. That is not true. The purpose of righteous anger is to compel a person to seek out and execute justice in a righteous manner. This is exactly how it works with God. His righteous anger is what drives His righteous judgments. He doesn’t overlook or ever become passive about sin. Rather, He will remain in a state of anger until the penalty of the sin is paid for.

But, having said all of this, the reality is that it is very rare that our anger is perfectly righteous. There is a righteous anger (or righteous impatience), but be careful in justifying your impatience to be an impatience that is holy.

We’re quick to call something a sin and get irritated about it, but the reality is that it wasn’t sin. Rather, we were simply inconvenienced.

Principle #3 - A godly person understands that patience is key for true fruitfulness.

This is something especially true for pastors. There are many things in a church that pastors can become impatient about—everything from the logistics and administrative responsibilities as you are mostly dealing with volunteers to the sin in people's lives.

But Paul is very careful to give Timothy instruction on this point—and it is something I personally remind myself of often.

2 Tim. 4:1-2I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction...”

This is that great passage that defines and controls much of what we do as pastors.

We reference it often, and teach on it often, but not much time is spent on that important little phrase tucked in at the end.

We believe in the work of the Word, but what we have to remind ourselves of is that the work of the Word is often slow. And this is in God’s design.

However, Paul obviously understood the impatience that can happen in ministry, and so He is careful to include this qualifier for how this work is to be done.

In fact, this is an issue that has disqualified many from ministry—and it’s rooted in pride. Many pastors push too hard too fast, and the reason is because they want to build their church (or build their brand). Yet in so doing they run over the sheep, and are even willing to harm some. This is evil. It is impatience. And it’s grounded in pride.

Rather, if you are a pastor who is listening to this—something that we must remember is that the Lord will bless your ministry in His timing—which you may not even see until heaven.

So instead, be a faithful pastor. Preach the Word. And do it with much patience.

Having said that, the principle applies to any area of the Christian life.

- In your marriage.

- In your child-rearing.

- In your evangelism.

- In your service within the local church.

All of it is to be done not merely with patience, but great patience.

So the key to true fruitfulness is taking the longer view. Simply be faithful, and see what the Lord does.

A great challenge in the Christian life is learning the discipline of waiting on the Lord. We are not sovereign, but He is. We cannot control our life, but He does. And while we understand this, we forget this.

Listen to some ways that patience is expressed and accomplishes in the OT:

Patience reveals a courageous person: Psalm 27:14“Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

Patience reveals a hopeful person: Psalm 130:5 – “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His Word do I hope.”

Patience results in fulfilled promises: “Wait for the Lord and Keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.”

Patience is synonymous with rest: Psalm 37:7 – “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”

Patience results in the Lord showing kindness to you: Lam. 3:25 – “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person Who seeks Him.”

Here, patience is synonymous with seeking God.

Sometimes we seek God, and think it should immediately produce what we want.

But here, patience means we seek God, but it also means that He will show us His goodness in His timing.

This is picked up in Matt. 6:33:

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Here we have a promise of provision, if we are busy seeking the kingdom.

However, there is not a qualification as to the timing of that provision.

So we are to be busy seeking the kingdom, and God will provide in his timing.