Apr 15, 2018

Practice Patience

Topical by Pastor Dan Walker
The Bible teaches that a patient person is wise in being slow to anger. This message tackles the topic of learning to be patient with other people. We can learn to see problems with people as opportunities to grow in patience.
Duration:27 mins 23 secs

Today we’re continuing our message series called “Relationships” with a message entitled “Practice Patience.” Patience is an essential character trait that we need to develop in order to have healthy relationships. You can’t talk about patience without talking about anger, because the word patience means “slow to get angry.” The Greek word for patience is “makrothumia” where makro means “long or slow” and thumia means “anger or wrath.” So, patience means you have a long fuse, you don’t blow up easily, you manage your anger.

Proverbs 14:29 (ESV)  Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

It is wise to learn how to develop patience, but it’s foolish to have a hasty temper. An angry person seems powerful, but he doesn’t accomplish anything constructive. In fact, anger weakens and destroys relationships. On the other hand, a patient person overlooks wrongs in others.

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV)  Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

People with good sense work at being patient. They learn to restrain their anger. They don’t blow up over every wrong another person does, they have a long fuse. Who is the most patient person around? Well it is God Himself. God has incredible patience to put up with people like you and me. If God was not patient with us, we would be long gone. We have insulted Him, done wrong countless times, yet He still loves us and has patience with us.

Numbers 14:18a (ESV) The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression …

God wants us to be like Him, slow to anger, patient, full of love and forgiveness. In every relationship, there are times when we have to make a choice. Will I get angry or be patient? One of our greatest challenges in showing patience is in our own homes with our families. So, today, we’re going to answer the question “How can I learn to practice patience?”

Be patient with other’s actions

The first area that God wants us to develop patience is with the actions of other people, both those we are close to and strangers we meet in the course of life. Every circumstance that you encounter in life that tries your patience is sent from God. It is designed to help you to develop the character trait of patience.

Galatians 5:22 (ESV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

One of the fruit of the Spirit is patience. This fruit grows as we learn from and are filled with the Spirit more and more. The way that you begin to develop patience is to stop seeing the difficult circumstances of life as problems. Rather look at difficulties as opportunities for you to grow to become more like Jesus. Let’s look to God as our example of patience. Let us be patient …

As God is patient with our wrong actions

We’ve already commented on how patient God is when we do wrong. Any sin is first and foremost an action against God. Sin is an insult against God. Sin  hurts God and grieves His heart. Yet God is merciful, God is patient, God is slow to get angry with our wrong actions.

Romans 2:4 (NLT)  Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

Patience means being kind, it means being tolerant, it means giving people time to change and not expecting perfection. Why is God patient with us? Because He wants us to turn away from wrong actions so we can have a strong relationship with Him. Let as also be patient ...

As God is patient with our lack of right actions

Some people don’t do wrong things that hurt us, they just don’t do the right things. That tries our patience just as much as if they had done wrong. Oftentimes people think of sin as just doing wrong things. Sin is also not doing the right things that God has told us to do.

Revelation 2:5a (ESV)  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.

Here God is speaking to some people who had started out well with God, their first love for Him was strong. However, they had fallen away from Him, they were not doing the right things that they used to do. God was patiently encouraging them to turn back, to begin doing the right things they knew they should be doing. Since God is patient with our actions, we can be patient with others.

How patient are you with the actions of others? What is your response when someone at work makes a mistake and if affects your project? .Are you angry or patient? How can you be patient? Whether with a family member or someone else. Remember how God has been patient with you, remember how He has encouraged you, remember how He hasn’t given up on you, remember how God has given you time to change. Then ask him to help you have His patience.

Be patient with other’s words

It’s not just other people’s actions or lack of them that try our patience. One of the biggest areas that tries our patience is other people’s words. Can you remember the last time that somebody said something that made you want to tell them a thing or two? That was a test of your patience.

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)  A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

A patient person will respond with a soft or gentle answer, an angry person will respond with harsh words and stir up the situation. We need to learn to be patient with other’s words ...

As God is patient with our angry words

Have you ever been angry at God? I have and I’m still alive to tell you about it. People get angry at God, they get bitter at God, but God is patient with us. Jesus was patient when people insulted Him. Peter speaking of Jesus says ...

1 Peter 2:23 (ESV)  When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

When you are insulted what is the natural reaction? It’s to retaliate, but Jesus didn’t do it. When someone says something to hurt you, what is your natural reaction? It’s to threaten to get even but Jesus didn’t do it. When someone is impatient and angry with you what is your natural reaction? To be impatient and angry back, to perpetuate a cycle of anger. God wants to teach you to break that cycle. To practice patience in response to anger. Be patient with other’s words   

As God is patient with our critical words

Sometimes people are critical of God. They question whether He is doing the right thing or whether He has done the wrong thing. God wants us to pour our hearts out to Him, even our questioning of Him because He is patient with us. David prays in ...

Psalm 13:1 (ESV) How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

Had God really forgotten David? Had God really looked the other way? No, but it felt like it to David. Sometimes it feels like it to us, yet God was patient with David and God is patient with us. Since God is patient with our words we can be patient with others.

A patient person is a peace maker. A patient person recognizes that God is in control and they don’t have to set everyone straight. A patient person is interested in building relationships. A patient person seeks to understand what the other person is going through. Since God is patient with our words, we can be patient with others.

Be patient with other’s attitudes

Sometimes it’s not really someone’s actions or their words that hurt us, it’s something harder to put your finger on, it’s their attitude. Attitudes are conveyed in a multitude of ways. Attitudes are a reflection of a person’s internal thoughts. Of course there are good attitudes, but what I am talking about here is bad attitudes, attitudes that try our patience. How should we respond? 

Colossians 1:11 (ESV)  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

We need God’s power to have the patience and endurance we need with other’s attitudes. There are all kinds of bad attitudes but we’ll just focus on two of them this morning Be patient with other’s attitudes ...

As God is patient with our discouragement

When we face challenging circumstances in our life, when nothing seems to be going right, we are prone to discouragement. As a believer, we should always be full of encouragement, but sometimes we get discouraged. It’s is a test of patience to be around a discouraged person, someone who you can’t seem to encourage. Yet God never gives up on us. He understands what we are going through and He has sympathy and patience for us.

Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Although Jesus never sinned as we do, He still faced all the same trials and trying circumstances of life that we do. He understands our weaknesses. He is patient with our discouragement. And so we should be patient with others. Be patient with other’s attitudes ...

As God is patient with our slowness to learn

When children or people are slow to learn, it can try our patience. Yet God is very patient with His children’s slowness to learn. Think about the apostle Thomas, often referred to as doubting Thomas. After Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead the other disciples believed in Him yet Thomas was slow to learn. Thomas said that he wouldn’t believe unless he could physically touch Jesus’ wounds. Did Jesus lose patience with Thomas? Did Jesus turn him away? No he showed himself to Thomas.

John 20:27 (ESV)  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

And Thomas believed. God is patient with us, with our attitudes, with our weaknesses. He knows what we are going through, He knows how difficult life can be. Since God is patient with our attitudes we can be patient with others,

A young man had become a believer and he went to an older Christian to ask for prayer. He asked “Will you please pray that I may be more patient with other people?” The older man agreed and began to pray, “Lord today send this young man people that have bad attitudes, tomorrow Lord send him people that are slow learners, the next day Lord send him ... Before he could finish the prayer, the young believer blurted out “No, no I didn’t ask you to pray for people with problems to come to me, I wanted you to pray for patience.” Ah responded the wise Christian, “It’s through problems with people that we learn patience with people.”

One of the reasons you have a family is to learn patience. Children are a great way that God uses to help us develop patience. How do we respond when our child whom we’ve told not to do something for the umpteenth time does it yet once more? Do we get angry with them? Discipline them in anger? Or are we patient with their slowness to learn, teaching them gently one more time. If we respond in anger we teach our children to respond to others in anger. If we are patient we teach them to be patient. As God is patient with our attitudes we can be patient with others.

Patience is an essential character quality for building healthy relationships. Once you truly understand how God is patient with you, with your actions, your words and your attitudes, you can learn to be patient with others. Anger damages relationships, patience builds relationships. Ask God this morning to help you develop His patience in your life and He will.