My condition has called for lots of patience on your part and mine. Periods of vocal rest have become common and it takes discipline. Each of us has to deal with our problems. One of our greatest needs as Christians, and one of our most foolish problems, is losing patience with God. I can understand getting impatient with myself or us getting impatient with each other, but there is no excuse for being impatient with God. He’s not like us and doesn’t treat us like we treat him or ourselves.
God has given us the ability to be patient if we’ll just use it. James didn’t tell us to work up our patience. He said to let patience have her perfect work. Do you believe you can stick it out with God? We have to and we might as well be patient about it.
James 1: 1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James got to the point and tackled a problem area. With all we face, you’d think something else would be mentioned first. Before he speaks about faith and prayer, he speaks about patience. It is our human nature to resist being patient. Before we have problems with faith, we can trace it back to a problem with patience.
We fail to allow God to have time to move and work. It’s a fast-paced world. We want things at a snap of a finger. We’re spoiled and think God is not moving fast enough. Patience teaches we are followers of God; it’s not God who follows us. The way God does things is up to him. We treat him as if he’s on probation. When you start a new job you have a probation period. The employer wants to see if you’ll perform and prove yourself out. We should never treat God that way. Never tell him you’ll serve him better if he’ll do this or that. Shame on us when we do that. God is our God. We should trust him. Time after time the Bibles says wait on the Lord. We ought not to complain about God not being fast enough. We should be thankful he’s so careful with us and not rush and hedge him in. God is working, but he moves at his own speed. We need a goal of adjusting our speed to God’s speed. Sometimes I think it’s not so much that we are in faster mode but more that we’re slower in understanding God. The Emmaus disciples were slow in recognizing Jesus while he walked with them after the resurrection. They didn’t slow down enough to take a look at him. Only when they sat down with him and he broke the bread did they realize who he was. We want an instant God and we unplug him till we need him the next time.
It is our nature to resist patience because of our lack of understanding. Have you ever told the Lord he doesn’t understand what you’re going through? He sees our lives with greater clarity than we ever could. When in a rush we’ll get ahead of God and get the cart before the horse. Slow down and wait on the Lord. Lamentations 3:26 states it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. By doing so, we have hope. We’ll see the salvation of God unfold.
James says let patience have her perfect work. Next week I want to talk about the perfect work of patience. Even though we’re not perfect, if we allow it, patience will make a perfect work in our soul. Put it in lower gear. Go the speed God wants you to go. Jesus told Martha she was cumbered about with much serving. She was flitting around while Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. When Martha complained Jesus told her that Mary had chosen the good part and it would not be taken from her. If we’re not patient we’ll lose faith, so right now we need to be patient with God.