Lesson 9 - Growing Closer to God Through Patience

There is an old joke where a man prays, "God give me patience, and give it to me RIGHT NOW!" When something exciting is coming it is hard to wait for it. Think about how much you look forward to Christmas Day, your birthday, and the last day of the school year. It seems like it will NEVER get here. The funny thing is, the more you anticipate and think and about it, the longer it seems to take. However the same can be said about the not-so-pleasant things in life. When we are in a situation where we are uncomfortable, or unhappy, time seems to DRAG and we grow impatient waiting for it to hurry up. Think about when school is over at 3:30 and the clock seems to slow down as it closes in on that time.

It seems we are always wanting to fast forward our lives for one reason or the other. I know I have lived like this, but when I look back I wish I would have had a different attitude. Instead of trying to "get through the days," I should have been trying to "get something out of the days." A large part of my life has been spent trying to survive from one day to the next. My main goal was staying just below the line where I would get into trouble. In school, I learned that a C meant I did not get in too much trouble at home, so I aimed for Cs. I couldn't wait until I was out of school! I was impatient for the next phase of my life even though I was doing NOTHING to prepare for it.

Funny thing. It seems that time passes fastest when we are busy and, honestly, upbeat. If you are at work watching the clock it seems to drag. If you are busy your work hours seem to fly by. The same can be said about being positive and upbeat. When my mood is not good, the day seems to last forever. It seems like I am walking through quicksand and have no energy. But when my attitude is better the day shoots by!

James 5:7-12
7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

As Christians, we must learn patience. Yes, it is a LEARNED skill. While we must look forward to the time we will be called home, there is much work to do here. Like we discussed above if you are busy in your work for the Lord the days will seem short. Becoming impatient will only increase your misery and make the hours seem like years.

9 Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

People who are not busy always seem to have plenty of time to find fault in others. Do the first calling we should heed is to stop looking at their "faults" and get busy helping the cause of Christ. Secondly, even though our brothers and sisters have faults we should be as patient and understanding about them, as we want people to be about ours. "The Lord is full of compassion and mercy," and we should be too.

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear - not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple "Yes" or "No." Otherwise you will be condemned.

When a verse being "Above all," and ends with "Otherwise you will be condemned," it is one we had better pay attention to. Swearing in this verse is speaking of making an oath using authority that is not your own. So, "I swear to God," or "May God strike me dead," etc. As Christians, our word is our bond. I righteous person has no need to swear beyond a simple "yes" or "no." It is the impatient and untrusting world that asks for more. Anything else shows a lack of patience since we want people to "trust" us faster than we have earned that trust. Building trust worthy relationships takes time, and it is time well spent. Being the light of this world requires our word to be trustworthy. When people continually violate the trust of those around them it is hard to reestablish a mean full relationship, even when there is a true desire to do so.

Synonyms for the word patience are:

These words all describe who we, as Christians, should be. But let's be honest, patience is not easy. Our world has conditioned mankind to demand our own way. The internet is filled with videos and stories about violent confrontatiolf ns over the smallest things. So before someone cuts in front of you in line let discuss some ways where we can condition ourselves to be patient.

-Always assume the best in others. That they are noble. That they face a true emergency.
-Ask yoursethe situation will have a true lasting result in your life. If not, let it go.
-Honest think, "is this hurting me, or is it just hurting my pride?" If it is just hurting your pride read 1 John 2:16 and remind yourself the "pride of life" does not come from God.
-Imagine if you reacted in a negative way only to find you were being watched by a young child you attend church with.
-Know that if you think are going to test that "jerk" a lesson, you are not.

As we live in this world we are wise to know, and even expect, that challenging times will come. Set your mind on things above (Col. 3:2) and decide now that you are going to have a positive impact in this world through your patience.