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Are you being patient with God?

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We live in a very impatient culture. Technology has trained us to expect instant gratification. We want it and we want it now. As quickly as possible. We are the now generation.

The world has programmed us to be impatient. We hate to wait. We despise delays. We don't like anything that takes time. We want it and we want it now. We want overnight success, instant wealth, quick solutions to our problems, rapid recovery from illnesses. But the reality of life is we spend a large part of our lives just flat out waiting. There is always a period of time between sowing and reaping, asking and receiving, vision and fulfillment, conception and birth, that requires us to wait. We need patience! But patience does not come overnight, it is developed over a period of time.

In James 5, he mentions the word "patience" or "persistence" six times. He gives us three illustrations-the farmer, the prophet, and the person of Job as examples of how, why, and when to be patient.

First, he says when we should be patient. He gives us these three illustrations. He says we need to be patient in three conditions:

  1. When circumstances are uncontrollable.

  2. When people are unchangeable.

  3. When problems are unexplainable.

Second, he tells us why we should be patient. he says there are three reasons:

  1. Because God is in control.

  2. Because God rewards patience, not only in this life but in heaven.

  3. Because God is working it out. We just need to trust Him.

Third, he tells us to be patient. How to wait on God. Using these three illustrations of the farmer, the prophet and Job, he says...

  1. You've got to wait expectantly.

    Like the farmer in vs. 7, I need to wait expectantly. What does a farmer do while he's waiting? he prepares. He doesn't plant the seed and then go spend a year in Florida. The whole time he's anticipating, expecting, that there's going to be a harvest, so he starts getting ready for it.

    Psalm 130:5 (LB) "I wait expectantly trusting God to help..." What have you been waiting for God to do in your life? For your marriage to be turned around? For a financial situation to be reversed? For a loved one to come to or back to Christ? To heal a hurt? For a physical healing? For your teenager to get his/her life back in line?

    Of these things you're waiting on...One, are you really expecting it to happen? Because, "According to your faith it will be done to you." Some of you really don't expect it to happen. Two, if you expect it to happen, what are you doing to get ready for it? Because faith prepares. That's what it means to expect. It means you prepare in advance. While you are waiting, be preparing, because that demonstrates faith.

    I've discovered that many times I thought I was waiting on God, when actually it was God waiting on me. You need to get your act together. You need to get prepared for the blessing God wants to give you. Once you're ready and once you've learned patience and once you've built the character you need, God will answer. "You're not waiting on Me," says God. "I'm waiting on you! I'm waiting on you to make the changes necessary so I can bless your life."

    Isaiah 49:23 "The Lord says, 'No one who waits for My help will be disappointed"

  2. You wait quietly.

    We don't mind waiting as long as we can complain about it. If we grumble about it, we can handle it. I don't mind standing in line or having to wait if I can gripe and mumble and complain. In this passage, James gives us two things to do. "Don't grumble against each other brothers or you'll be judged." The New English Bible says, "Don't blame our troubles on one another." He says if your are going to learn to wait, you wait expectantly and you wait quietly. That means you don't gripe about it while you're waiting.

    Do your rise and whine in the morning? Do you grumble? Do you gripe? The Bible says, don't grumble.

    The Bible says when you're waiting, you wait expectantly and you wait quietly. You don't grumble about it.

    Then he says in v.12 don't swear, "After all my brothers, don't swear, not by heaven or earth or anything else." has waiting ever tempted you to swear? You're so ticked off and you let it rip! What happens when you're frustrated and you can't do anything about it? Unfortunately, the typical response is we take it out on the people closest to us. Many times they're not even part of the problem. You're irritated by somebody at work and you come home, walk in the door, and emotionally vomit on your family. You feel a whole lot better but they feel kind of sticky! That's not fair. Why should they have to take your flack? Why should the fallout from your irritation be directed at them?

    He says, wait quietly. Don't grumble. Don't complain. Don't swear. Manage your mouth.

    Lamentations 3:26 "It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

  3. You wait confidently.

    Micah 7:7 "I wait confidently for God." When the outlook is bad, you look up. This is what hope is. It's confident expectation. HOPE-Holding On. Praying Expectantly.

    How do you show confidence when you're waiting? Not by wiggling but by standing still. How many times in the Old Testament does it say, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!" Don't get nervous. Don't get antsy. Don't get the spiritual wiggles. Wait confidently.

    What is Confident waiting? It is David in Psalm 27:13-14 "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord." It is David in Psalm 38:15 "I wait for you, O Lord; You will answer..." It is David in Psalm 40:1-3, "I waited patiently for the Lord; And he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire; he set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God."

    What is confident waiting? It is Habakkuk 2:3 (LB) "These things won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day."

    Some of you need to cut this verse out and put it on your refrigerator. What is your vision? What is your dream? What is your goal in life? What is the deepest prayer request of your heart? God says the vision will be fulfilled. Just be patient. If it seems slow do not despair for these things will surely come to pass.

    What is confident waiting? It is Isaiah 40:28-31 "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

*Materials used: Sermon notes from Rick Warren


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